Page 1

■ Your childhood fantasies

may be coming to life sooner than you think, thanks to science

Page 10

Wrapping up the year



chris lee

Ambassador John Roos encourages international friendship in his presentation in the Carol Channing Theater after school on Nov. 17.




■ Club battles Daleks and Cybermen through hit TV series ■ LDC performs at private allgirls’ school, introduces students to different dance styles ■ Orchestra students play piece composed by SFUSD teacher




■ Women athletes can be winked out by public eye, yet deserving of recognition




■ Trekkie finds life lessons in exploring galaxies with Spock and Captain Kirk ■ Not raindrops on roses, but here are a few of this girl’s favorite things




■ Reporters debate necessity of Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

Following the earthquake, Ambassador Roos was moved by the Japanese people’s incredible fortitude in the face of adversity. “I saw the strength, determination and calmness of the Japanese; it was both impressive and moving at the same time,” he said in an interview. In the ambassador’s presentation, as he talked about his personal experiences during the disaster, he shared the story of Ayaka, one survivor he met personally, who lost both her parents. “Without a family, she would have to forgo college and have to go to work, but her strength and determination were palpable,” Roos said. A few months after the March disaster, Ayaka visited the ambassador again, and expressed her thanks for the U.S. aid, speaking of her dream to graduate from high school and study in the United States one day. “The story about Ayaka was memorable,” sophomore Mimi Lu said. “She lost her whole family in the earthquake, but then she still overcame it and now she has a dream for her life.” See AMBASSADOR on Page 6

Rise in thefts Company offers East leave faculty coast campus tours to and students college-bound juniors vulnerable T By Henry Hammel


Page 20

he U.S. Ambassador to Japan, a Lowell alumnus, visited the school last month to talk about U.S. efforts to assist and promote friendship with Japan. In a presentation in the Carol Channing Theater on Nov. 17, Ambassador John Roos, class of ’73, discussed the United States’ response to the earthquake and tsunami that struck in the Tohoku region of Japan last March. Roos also emphasized the importance of cultural understanding between younger generations in the two countries. The ambassador plays an important international role, considering that during the same week, President Barack Obama was touring Pacific Rim nations and speaking of the critical role of the Asia-Pacific region for U.S. economic growth. Operation Tomodachi – which means “friend” in Japanese – is the United States Armed Forces assistance effort to Japan, providing personnel for search and rescue and disaster relief supplies such as food, water, fuel and blankets.

By Melinda Leung


year with a glass of apple cider and gift the worst with dusty fruitcake

By Adam Chac


What’s What’s

■ Toast the best of the

Ambassador alum shares account of Japanese disaster

In the news In the news

ou may have seen a black swan dance … but how about a red Cardinal? To get the chance to take a glance, drop by the Carol Channing Theater and take a gander at the Beginning and Intermediate Dance classes during Mods 6-7 and 11-12. The performance will feature students’ original choreography, which they have been preparing and practicing since the beginning of the year, including a piece titled “Parachute.” Before finals, fly up, up and away!



Lowell High School, Red Edition, Vol. 216 No. 4, December 8, 2011,

Lowell The

Sci-fi comes alive

his semester the school has encountered an increased number of thefts, which has impacted both students and staff. During the fall rally — which took place on Nov. 18 from 10:55 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. — special education teacher Claire Puretz’s car was broken into by multiple culprits. The thieves were spotted in the staff parking lot between the math wing and Rolph Nicol playground, and scared away, according to dean of students Ray Cordoba. “A school staff member saw some commotion in the parking lot by the park,” Cordoba said. The incident is still under investigation, according to Cordoba. The incident cost Puretz about $300 total, including the amount required for the repairs. “They broke a window and stole my gym bag,” she said. Puretz’s initial reaction was frustration. “It shows a lack of supervision and it represents a larger societal issue in San Francisco,” she said. “I felt like my personal space had been violated.” This was a new experience for Puretz at the school, and she has adjusted to it. “I no longer park my car in the upper parking lot, now I use the lower parking lot,” she said. In another thieving incident towards the end of October, one thief was caught in the girls’ locker room around midday. “A staff member caught her rummaging through the locker room and she was suspended,” Physical Education department head Sascha Taylor-Ray said. According to Cordoba, the culprit stole cash. “Both people (the suspect and the staff member) had to explain their sides in statements and then the student was suspended,” Cordoba said. Thefts, especially in the girls’ area of the gym, have been on the rise. “So far there have been at least half a dozen thefts See THEFTS on Page 6

he school is offering a weeklong East coast college tour to juniors this summer to provide students with first-hand knowledge of college life. The seven-day, six-night trip is scheduled for June 3 to June 9. Students will visit approximately two schools a day, touring Ivy League schools, like Harvard and Yale, as well as smaller liberal arts colleges, like Swarthmore and Goucher. There will be a total of 17 colleges in Philadelphia, New

York, and Boston to choose from, according to counselor Marianella Castro, who is organizing the trip with College Visits and plans to chaperone. On certain days during the trip, students will be allowed to split off into separate groups to tour different colleges. However, students will only be visiting 10 colleges. The trip can be altered to target different schools based on student input. In the past, parents and students inquired about school provided college See COLLEGE VISITS on Page 4

Beautiful soul-o

daniel green

Junior Enders Ng performs “Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney at the Winter Choir Concert on Dec. 1. Ng covered the song as a solo.


December 8, 2011


LDC performs at middle school

AND 5, 6, 7, 8! On Nov. 4, Lowell Dance Company visited a private K-8 girls school, as well as several other Bay Area schools. The Hamlin School’s dance instructor Jill Randall invited LDC to perform along with several other high school dance programs. “I knew her from the East Bay dance festival, where LDC used to perform,” dance teacher Wendy Jones said. “I also knew her from when I was performing. Plus, we were both members of the Bay Area Dance Educators Association.” The performance was designed to showcase the different types of dance programs offered in high school. “It’s just to show that they have options,” Jones said. “You get to see different styles, exposure to different techniques, that allows you to learn more about dance.” The dancers hoped to inspire middle school students to sign up for dance in high school. “We wanted to encourage kids to take dance,” LDC dancer junior Sophia Warren said. “We wanted to show them dance isn’t just exercise, it’s a fun way to express yourself.” The group performed “Walk On,” a piece choreographed by Jones to the song “Walk On” by U2. The group thought the dance would be a nice message to the students. “It’s called ‘Walk On,’ like working together to get past difficulties,” Warren said. “Someone who attended their school died suddenly, and we wanted to dedicate it to her.” Jones’s ideas for the choreography were influenced by watching her students collaborating in the dance studio. “I believe that dance can be used as a vehicle to work on any type of issue.  Dance can be very cathartic,” Jones said. “The idea started last May, and I wanted to do a piece to express people working together, taking care of each other, being the giver and the receiver. It’s about how people can cope.” — Adriana Millar

Union supports Occupy SF In a resolution published Nov. 16 the district’s teachers union officially pledged its support for the Occupy San Francisco movement. At the Nov. 2 Assembly of the United Educators of San Francisco, a meeting attended by all school site Union Building Committee representatives — elected from the schools’ educators — passed a resolution that allocated funds to Occupy SF. “Therefore be it resolved that UESF shall support the San Francisco Labor Council’s call for support of Occupy SF, with up to no more than $1000/month,” the resolution, published on UESF’s website (, stated. The money will not be given directly to Occupy SF protesters, but rather be given to the San Francisco Labor Council, a group that includes over 150 unions and 100,000 union members, to buy supplies for the encampment. The resolution also required UESF president Dennis Kelly to appoint a coordinator to be exclusively responsible for Occupy SF-related work. He chose Ken Tray, who is the UESF political director, currently on leave from the school’s social studies department. Tray has so far had several meetings with Mayor Lee to discuss Occupy SF, as well as attended the General Assembly of Occupy SF. “We applaud Occupy SF for raising the issue of economic disparity,” Tray said. “We’ve been talking about it for a long time, but recently Occupy has been getting the headlines for it.” The union’s involvement in the Occupy movement is rooted in the similarity of their goals, according to Tray. “Labor unions are all about the 99 percent,” Tray said. “That’s who we are.” UESF showed its support for Occupy SF in a Nov. 28 e-mail, which it sent to all union members urging them to participate in a Dec. 2 rally for Occupy SF’s Day of Action. The rally was held at the Federal Building Plaza to protest national cuts to social security, Medicare and Medicaid. The e-mail asked teachers to “join fellow union members…as we take a stand for these vital public programs.” A teacher voiced his support for Occupy SF. “If I didn’t have a full time job, I’d be there,” social studies teacher Richard Girling, a UBC member, said. “When executives are getting $20 million dollar bonuses while thousands of people are losing their homes, there’s definitely a problem.” Members of UESF as a group are do not intend to take the forefront as leaders in the Occupy SF movement, according to Tray. “We are here to support them, not influence them,” Tray said. ­— Elazar Chertow

Lowell High School

Nobel laureate visits the school

daniel green

J. Michael Bishop, the 1989 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of human oncologenes, genes that have the potential to cause cancer, and in so doing furthered the understanding of how tumors are formed.

School bids farewell to Krasner By Melinda Leung


he school’s Wellness Center coordinator is resigning to pursue a career in therapy; her replacement has not been determined, as of Dec. 6. After five years at Lowell, Wellness Center Coordinator Jennifer Krasner left on Nov. 18. Krasner accepted a mental health position at Redwood High School in the Tamalpais Union School District in Marin County where she will act as an on-site therapist, providing direct counseling to students.   The district is currently recruiting a new Wellness Center staff member. The current staff, Community Health Outreach Worker Lauren Reyes, Wellness counselor Kin Leung, and interns Aaron Hagaman, Natasha Jaipaul, Loong Kwok and Jenny Prindiville, are taking more shifts to fulfill Krasner’s former duties. “She has contributed so many things to the Wellness Center,” Reyes said. “The biggest thing she contributed was making students feel that they are valued and someone cares for them. She created the vibe in the Wellness Center and taught students that their well-being is crucial.” Krasner stated that her main reason for taking the new position was to decrease the hours of school-based work. Additionally, the clinical social worker recently obtained her license, so she wants to develop her private practice that specializes in the treatment of adolescents and young adults and their families.

Her practice focuses specifically on adolescents suffering from eating disorders. Krasner has always emphasized the importance of families and wishes to continue furthering that. “What I learned at Lowell is that families are an important aspect of a student’s life,” she said. “I want to do more to help families. The student’s family is vital, because seeing that adolescents do not entirely support themselves yet, and as they are only just beginning to grow into young adults, they need the support of their parents, caregivers, and sometimes even siblings, to achieve a sense of balance and well-being in their lives.”    At Lowell, Krasner reached out to families through Parent Teacher Student Association presentations and after-school meetings with families. “Occasionally, I would talk to a student’s parents who were having difficulty understanding changes in their teen’s behavior, difficulty referring their child to the Wellness Center, or who had questions about social and emotional well-being,” she said. During her five years here, the number of students who came to the Wellness Center for consultation has increased by nearly 400 students, according to Krasner. In her first year, approximately 500 students came to the Wellness Center; this

year, approximately 860 have received mental health counseling, as well as case management and medical services, along with other students who came for relaxation, tea and board games. “Throughout my time at Lowell, I have worked with many freshmen who have had difficulty adjusting to the Lowell culture,” Krasner said. “I have w atche d them grow into self-aware, wellrounded, young men and women. I hope that the skills they have developed working with me will only continue to grow and benefit them in their evcourtesy of jen krasner eryday lives outside of Lowell and into their futures.” Students have been very grateful for Krasner’s enthusiasm and advice. “She is one of the friendliest people on campus and is a good role model,” junior Chris Bimbo said. “I just transferred here last year and had difficulty adjusting. She helped me become nicer, resolve my problem, and get through the year. Even though I will miss her, I will still continue visiting the Wellness Center.” Krasner acted as the liaison between the academic counseling department, administration, teachers, families, students and the Wellness program.

Carolling in the season

f o r t h e c o m p l e t e v e r s i o n s of stories, please visit

The Lowell on the Web

daniel green

Seniors David Guo and Arnrow Domingo, both soloists from Advanced Choir, raise their voices in wintry, holiday-themed song during the Winter Choir Concert in the Carol Channing Theater on Dec. 1.

December 8, 2011

The Lowell



Whovians tackle 21 seasons, sonics in hand By Justine Alano


himself is an alien, a time lord from the planet Gallifrey. He has the ability to regenerate into a new body and personality when close to death. At the end of season one of the revived series, the Doctor gets sucked into a time vortex in the TARDIS and disintegrates. He then regenerates from his ninth body to his tenth one, according to Nunez. “They


nock Knock. Who’s there? Doctor. Doctor Who! The Doctor Who Appreciation Society was founded this semester by sophomores Kathleen Nunez and Deidre Foley, who is also a reporter for The Lowell. The club hopes to unite fans of the popular British television show Doctor Who and build a community of “Whovians.” About 15 to 25 members have come to DWAS meetings, according to Foley. The Doctor Who series began in 1963-1989; the show took a fifteen-year break. The series started up in 2005 and is presently still airing new episodes. In the sci-fi show aired on the British Broadcasting Corporation, the show’s protagonist, The Doctor, travels through points in time and space in a big blue police box called the “TARDIS,” which stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. As he travels through time and space, he runs into trouble and brings an end to various wrongdoings. The Doctor

change actors whenever the doctor regenerates,” Foley said. During a typical DWAS meeting, members watch Doctor Who and play Doctor Who-related games, according to sophomore member Rachel Levin. In an episode the club recently watched, the Doctor needs to get the TARDIS back from the weeping angels, are aliens whose first appearance was in the first episode of the third season “Blink,” according to Nunez. The angels are dangerous assassins that are only able to strike when people close their eyes. While their eyes are open, the angels turn into statues. If the angels are able to touch someone, that person is transported to a different year, according to Foley. The club members deigned and played a game inspired by this episode which is similar to “red-light, green-light,” one club member is the “angel” and the rest of the members are regular people. The objective of the game is to be the first one to reach the angel. If the angel sees a student move, he or she needs to restart back at the beginning, according to Foley. Those who do not know

anything about the television show are still encouraged to come to the club, although Levin warned, “If you want to start watching the series, you should start with watching the first season and then go on from that.” But Foley expressed that there are other episodes that work as an introduction to Doctor Who. “A good starter episode is ‘Blink,’” Foley said. “I’ve skipped around in the series and I still understand and appreciate the show.” Most club members find DWAS to be a great way to create new friendships. “I joined the club to find new people that look at Doctor Who the same way I do,” Levin said. “I find it a way to escape from reality.” To earn funds, the club sold pound cake with custard, as well as Dalek-shaped cookies at Eighth Grade Night. The “Daleks” are a species of cyborgs in Doctor Who. The pound cake references an episode called “The Eleventh Hour.” In the first episode of season five, the newly regenerated eleventh Doctor crashlands in a little girl’s garden, and

rejects various foods in the kitchen, finally settling on a combination of fish sticks and custard, according to Foley. Visit Room 337 on Fridays after school. You needn’t knock to unravel the mystery that is Doctor Who.

Illustrations by vivian tong

Six sharp minors are the Director presents key to musical success 13-minute film to Spanish students The young musicians of the Lowell String Quartet strike a high note, charming audiences across the Bay Area


By Sofya Kats and Ying Sham



By Audrey Yu and Deidre Foley


ave you ever been to Bar or Bat Mitzvahs? What traditions or process did the honorees perform? They most likely had to read a Torah portion or explain a Drash — an interpretation or teaching of a Torah passage — to the Jewish community. But if you attended one in Montevideo, the Uruguayans did something different. Students in Spanish 5H learned about both Jewish and South American culture on Nov. 15 when Uruguay native and renowned filmmaker Frederico Veriroj presented his movie Bregman, El Siguiente. The 13-minute short film documents a boy’s coming of age, according to Cadoppi. “There is a 13 year-old and he’s Jewish,” Cadoppi said. “In Jewish customs, you go through certain rituals, like the Bar Mitzvah. The film showed how these rites of passages affected the child and how much participation he had in making the decisions.” Veiroj’s visit provided a unique learning experience for students. “I definitely enjoyed the event because it’s not every day a director comes to visit a class,” junior Sophia Warren said. “I learned a lot about his culture, and his visit gave me insight on the thought process of making a film and the significance of every scene. Overall it was a great experience for us to learn from and for us to use our Spanish skills.” Cadoppi was contacted by the Education Outreach Section of the San Francisco Film Society this year to see if she wanted to have a guest speaker come to her class. For many years Cadoppi has taken her Lowell and City College students to the San Francisco International Film Festival. When Youth Education Manager of the SFFS’s Artist in Residence program manager Keith Zwolfer emailed a group of high school teachers, many jumped in to take advantage of the

opportunity. It was first come first serve, according to Zwolfer. “ I love these types of challenges so I’m always on the button there,” Cadoppi said. According to Cadoppi, Veiroj is an “artist in residence” at SFFS, meaning he was only in San Francisco for ten days and is visiting only two high schools, one of them being Lowell. Having a guest speaker from out of the country to present at schools is a core opportunity because they usually only showcase their work at festivals. One of the SFFS’s main focuses is to reach out to schools and bring filmmakers to the classes. The class had a question and answer session with Veiroj in Spanish after the film showing. “People asked about some confusing scenes as well as social differences between America and Uruguay,” Warren said. Because Veiroj is from South America, his accent is specific to Uruguay and Argentina. “Because I’ve been there I was more accustomed to it, but I think it would have been harder to understand if I didn’t know the nuances of the accent,” junior Rebecca Jacobson said. Veiroj was thrilled, according to Zwolfer. “Frederico had a great time and really enjoyed speaking with them,” Zwolfer said. “He was very impressed with their questions and language skills.” Veiroj is recognized as a winner of “The Films in Progress TVE award” for his first feature film Acne at the 2007 San Sebastian International Film Festival presented in Cannes, France, and went on to receive the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 AFI Festival in Los Angeles. His second feature film, A Useful Life (La Viva Util, 2010) was submitted to the 2010 Academy Awards. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was shown at 80 other festivals, including the 2011 SFIFF.


for our performances, but we give the money to Ms. Winter,” Chu said. “It helps fund the orchestra hough a fulL orchestra’s grandeur program.” can generate awe, sometimes less is Clients may request specific pieces such as more, such as in the case of the Lowell Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus”. Last June, after listenString Quartet. Led by orchestra teacher Michele Winter, the ing to the group at a reception for the dedication Lowell String Quartet has been providing featured of the Paul Cheng VICCI Center, social studies pieces and background music for school and com- teacher Nader Jazayeri invited the string quartet munity events for over 25 years. “It existed before I to play at his wedding. “We used them for the arrived at Lowell in 1992,” Winter said. The four- processional, the recessional, and a little bit of instrument musical ensemble is comprised from cocktail music,” Jazayeri said. “They set the vibe two violinists, junior Michelle Tong and senior that we wanted. It was a very casual, kind of outCalvin Hu; one violist, a spot rotated between door style. And they’re just amazing. They outdid sophomore Addison Brenneman, junior Emily my expectations.” Performing for his wedding was a treat for Nguyen and senior Louis Wong; and one cellist, the quartet. “I was surprised that Mr. Jazayeri junior Ivan Chu. Each year as senior members graduate, Winter trusted us enough to play at such an important selects skilled musicians from her music classes event,” Tong said.   For almost all events, the quartet pulls from to form the Lowell String Quartet. their existing stock of piecThis year, since all es to perform – most are former students except Calvin Hu have graduIn an orchestra you’re familiar favorites by famous composers such as Mozart, ated, Winter arranged an drowned out by every- Beethoven, Dvorak, Bach entirely new ensemble and Pachelbel. “We have a from students in her symone else. Whereas in book called the ‘Gig Book’ phonic orchestra class. lots of nice pieces like “We’re not a club, and a quartet, you can be with ‘Canon in D’ by Pachelbel,” we’re not an ‘official’ quarheard individually.” Nguyen said. “The book has tet,” Chu explained. “We’re about 20 songs, and we play a group, we rotate people around depending on EMILY NGUYEN the whole book at gigs until who has time when. So junior, violinist an hour is up. After each gig is orgaat gigs, there are always nized and the musicians for the event are decided, four people.” When there are not enough musicians avail- Winter sets up practice sessions. “We don’t pracable for a performance date, Winter steps in with tice much, since we usually play music that we’ve done in outside orchestras,” Tong said. “If we do either her violin or viola. Many requests for performances are made by practice, we practice either during class, after Lowell alumni. “People call or email me, I put school or on weekends at Ms. Winter’s house.” Performing in a small group is an experience together a parental permission sheet for the event and then I contact the client to let them know unlike that of being a part of an orchestra, according to the group members.  “When you’re in an whether the group is available,” Winter said. In addition to these alumni events, the quar- orchestra, you’re drowned out by everyone else,” tet has played at the re-opening of the Merced Nguyen said. “Whereas in a quartet, you can be Branch Library, graduation parties, weddings, heard individually.” Collaboration between musicians also alParent-Teacher-Student Association meetings and Back-To-School-Nights. Their next performance lows the growth of musical knowledge and will be at Foster City for a private Christmas party. experience.“Being a part of the orchestra has alThough the Lowell Quartet does not charge for lowed me to understand how to play in a group, while also being a soloist,” Chu said. “It their performances, generous clients also feels great to give the Lowell orchestra sometimes donate to them anyway. recognition out of school.” “Sometimes we are paid individually


December 8, 2011

Lowell High School

Optional college trip for juniors scheduled College Visits, a private college tour planning company, will be piloting the program in June. The sixday trip to the East coast will be offered to juniors at the projected cost of $2,100. From COLLEGE VISITS on Page 1 trips. This year, the school approached College Visits, a company that conducts college tours, during a conference and received information about the trips. After hearing good feedback from another school, the counselors decided to pilot this event. College Visits, an organization founded by a former assistant director of admissions at John Hopkins University, is planning the trip. This year, the college tour program will only be offered to juniors, although it may be opened up to sophomores in the future, depending on student interest, according to Castro. “This is a great opportunity for juniors, because it is the summer before they begin to apply to colleges,” she said. “It is the perfect time to begin checking out potential schools.” Some seniors see the value of such a trip and wish that they had been offered the chance to take part in it. Senior Justin Lai said he would prefer that the school offer the program during the school year, since he wouldn’t be able to get as much of an experience of college life during the summer. “It was too late for me to go on a college visit, but I would have participated if the school offered this to me when I was a junior,” he said. Counselors informed students of the opportunity by visiting registries and posting notices both in the bulletin and on School Loop. The original deadline was Nov. 18 to see if students expressed interest. Since College Visits requires at least a six months advance notice, the deadline was extended to the beginning of January, giving students more time to sign up. Approximately five students had signed up

The school is endorsing a new East Coast college tour program by College Visits scheduled for June 3-9, 2012 . Compare this to an old-school family trip...

College Visits trip

family college trip

Details of the trip handled by the tour group.

Trip-planning can consider individual interests.

Projected price is approximately $2,100 for one person.

Price varies by the number of travelers and budget choices.

17 colleges to choose from; 10 to visit.

College assessment can have parental input and sibling participation.


Chaperoned by school staff.

Can be combined with vacation. INformation graphic created by yosha huang

told me that they went on a similar trip. However, it cost about the same or a little bit more and the students visited fewer colleges.” However, some interested students feel that the college tour program is too expensive. “I think this sounds like a good opportunity to experience which college I would like to go to, but it is a little bit costly,” junior Susan Li said. “It would be great if there were more colleges I wanted to see. I have never heard of some of them, but it still seems like a great chance to learn something new.” While compromising the flexibility of a family college trip, participants would avoid the hassle of planning the trip, since all arrangements will be made by College Visits. Students can save money, since parents do not need to purchase airfare tickets for themselves. In addition, the students in an organized group would have more bonding time with their peers and chaperoning counselors, according to Castro. The trip includes student-led campus tours and question and answer sessions with admission officers. Students can explore the areas surrounding the schools to determine whether or not the school is right for them during their free time. In the future, students might visit colleges in Southern California, rather than on the East Coast, depending on student input, according to Castro.

by Nov. 28. “We need at least twenty students forms and checklists for evaluating schools. to sign up before we can pilot this trip,” Castro Currently, the Parent Teacher Student Assosaid. “Because we are in the earlier stages of ciation has not said it will cover any of the cost. planning this trip, the Compared to the exset limit of students pense of a family trip, is approximately 50.” This is a great op- the price is reasonFor ever y 10 stuable, since hotels and portunity for juniors local transportation dents, there will be one chaperone to acgroup discounts, because it is the sum- offer company them. according to Castro. The projected cost mer before they begin “ I t r e a l l y of the trip is $2,100, a depends on f o r t h e c o m p l e t e v e r s i o n s of stories, please visit to apply to colleges.” w h e re you figure which includes The Lowell on the Web transportation, are going,” MARIANELLA CASTRO, Castro said. meals, hotel lodging, and materials such as counselor “A f a m i l y


The Lowell

December 8, 2011



rally, hut!

all photos by gavin li

Even rain and gray skies couldn’t dampen the Cardinal spirit on Nov. 18. From class competitions to a wild game of “Capture the Cardinal,” everyone was engaged in the fun. Clockwise from top: (Top) Drum Corp bellows across the field. (Middle right) Seniors Reggie Webb, Danielle Menikheim and Hannah Matranga are found victorious in the tug-of-war showdown. (Bottom right) Seniors Tori Leder, Chelan McGinty and Reilly Fitzpatrick enthusiastically cheer their classmates on. (Bottom left) Lowell Song Girls juniors Franka Iloka, Mila Feldman, Laura Horlsey and sophomore Kristine Ridad take the stage with a catchy routine. (Middle left) Teachers struggle in a heated rope battle that had faculty pitted against each other.


December 8, 2011

Lowell High School

Ambassador advises Increased incidents students to keep their of crime reported career options open in girls’ locker room, cash stolen From THEFTS on Page 1 reported in the girls’ locker room,” Cordoba said. “Last year there were about 12 for the entire year, but this year they are happening much more frequently. At this rate we will have much more than a dozen by the end of the year.” Students expressed their concern over the number of thefts. “I would be really scared if someone broke into my locker,” sophomore Patricia Nguy said. “It makes me feel insecure.” The monetary thefts have ranged from stealing a few dollars to a couple hundred. “Clubs used to store money in students’ lockers; now they are supposed to immediately turn their money into the club advisor,” Cordoba said. Although cash is normally the main loss, other items have been reported missing as well. “Sometimes they steal cell phones too,” Cordoba said. “The thief steals whatever he or she has a need for.” Security guards oversee the entire school site, so their presence in the locker room is limited. “The only security we have are the people in the locker room,” he said. “We encourage students to look out and tell adults if they see anything.” Since no one should be in the locker room between classes, the area is supposed to be secured; however, this does not always happen. “Sometimes we forget to lock the doors,” Cordoba said. “We are trying to be vigilant about following policy, but we cannot be perfect, these things are inevitable.” According to Cordoba, the problem is the lack of security. “We do not have enough eyes and ears,” he said. “At our school, everyone is busy. Often we have very hectic schedules, which results in

people not paying enough attention to their valuables.” The P.E. staff warn their students about the possible result of not securing their belongings. These warnings have been delivered since the first week of school. “At the beginning of the year we give a speech to all the P.E. students, which includes telling them to lock up their stuff,” Taylor-Ray said. “If they do not lock up their stuff, there is nothing I can do to help them.” The culprits steal in a variety of ways, according to Cordoba. “Most of them are opportunists,” he said. “If they see an open locker they will steal from it.” The thieves know that they must act quickly in a public place, according to Cordoba. “Sometimes they will steal the first thing that they can get their hands on and then run to avoid being caught,” he said. People who steal tend to have two reasons, according to Cordoba. “They steal because they have been robbed and they want to get back at someone or because they need money,” he said. But the students who break rules face serious consequences. “Robbery will result in a mandatory expulsion referral unless the principal decides that expulsion is inappropriate due to the particular circumstance,” according to the 2011-2012 San Francisco Unified School District Student and Parent/Guardian Handbook on page 55. In response to the crime increase, the school is taking steps to alleviate the problem. “We are working on having more accurate supervision and making more people aware,” Cordoba said. “We need to get it out there that these things do occur at Lowell. This school is not an exception.”

From AMBASSADOR on Page 1 experiences during the disaster, he shared the story of Ayaka, one survivor he met personally, who lost both her parents. “Without a family, she would have to forgo college and have to go to work, but her strength and determination were palpable,” Roos said. A few months after the March disaster, Ayaka visited the ambassador again, and expressed her thanks for the U.S. aid, speaking of her dream to graduate from high school and study in the United States one day. “The story about Ayaka was memorable,” sophomore Mimi Lu said. “She lost her whole family in the earthquake, but then she still overcame it and now she has a dream for her life.” Following the relief effort, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the U.S. – Japan Council created the Tomodachi Initiative, a program that aims to provide opportunities for Japanese and American students to participate in exchange programs between their two nations in areas such as education and sports. “It would be great to have Lowell students as part of our crosscultural exchange program,” Roos said.

Lowell Alumni Association executive director Terence Abad invited Ambassador Roos to speak at Lowell. “I think his purpose was to convey, on behalf of the Japanese, their gratitude, but I think more than that, he was there to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Japan, to try to encourage people to visit Japan,” Abad said. Roos attended Stanford University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with honors and distinction in 1977. He then attended Stanford Law School, earning his Juris Doctor in 1980. Ambassador Roos said his career choice in high school was to become a trial lawyer, but after he began practicing law, he changed to representing startups in Silicon Valley, working for the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati law firm from 1985 to his appointment to the ambassadorship in 2009. “I always tell students, don’t be afraid to make changes in your career.” President Obama offered Roos the position after the 2008 election. “I was not seeking to become an ambassador,” Roos said. “It was something I could not pass up.”

Line up for lumpia...


Senior Annie Yang purchases lumpia from the Fil-Am Club after school on Dec. 4.

December 8, 2011

The Lowell

Orchestra performs SF composer’s work Lowell musicians learned the perks of playing a local piece when the songwriter himself came to give them feedback By Ashley Louie

liked the piece from the start; it was just ymphonic orchestra and the right level of difficulty. “It wasn’t too band members had the opportunity hard, but it wasn’t too easy,” she said. “It’s to perform a piece by a local com- also very interesting and mentally and poser for the first time in almost ten years musically challenging. There were lots of worthwhile details and I liked the asymthis month. The full orchestra’s fall concert on Nov. metry.” Symphonic Orchestra violinist senior 17 featured “Dance Overture” by local composer Richard Frazier, who is also Calvin Hu enjoyed playing the piece. “It’s quite exciting to a music teacher at play, there’s a lot of Roosevelt Middle to it — there’s School. Last year, It’s nice for students parts a piano part, a lot of Frazier conducted the Sunset Youth to know that not all woodwind, brass, and repetition,” Hu Orchestra in a permusic is written by said. formance of the Symphonic Band piece. dead people from far- bassoonist junior Orchestra teachHoi Leung, who is er Michele Winter, away places.” an illustrator on The who was looking for a high-energy full Michele Winter, Lowell, admired the orchestra piece and orchestra teacher personality of the overture. “I liked it a enjoyed Frazier’s lot because it had a lot of different moods other pieces, accepted his request to have to it,” Leung said. the piece performed. The musicians spent the entire semester Winter said that there is some significance to having a local, contemporary practicing Frazier’s piece, but were only composer instead of one such as Bach or able to practice as a group approximately Beethoven. “It’s nice for students to know once a week. Frazier briefly stopped by two of the full that not all music is written by dead people from faraway countries — that real people, orchestra’s rehearsals to offer what Winter ordinary people, for example their old considered as “very concise and very helpmiddle school teacher, might write music,” ful feedback” about the orchestra’s performance. “Having the local composer right she said. Even though the overture was not there allows students to ask the composer performed exactly as Frazier intended it how he wants the piece to sound,” she said.    Although the full orchestra only practo be, Winter said that she was pleased by how well the piece was executed. Frazier’s ticed weekly, Frazier had positive feedback “Dance Overture” was conceived for ballet about their performance at the concert.“I dances, but the orchestra performed a con- was delighted, especially with the superbly cert version, without accompanying danc- trained string section,” he said.       Winter says that students may play ers. “We’d love to have dancers, but space and time would be an issue,” Winter said “I more of Frazier’s work in the future, think that when Symphonic Orchestra did although probably not this year. “I want my students to be exposed to a variety of play it, they made people want to dance.” According to Winter, the full orchestra composers,” she said.




Garden’s potential grows new curriculum By Adam Chac


school club is contributing to the recent renovations of a garden area between the tennis courts and the football field in order to make it usable for future curriculum activities. Working on Thursdays after school, the Gardening Club is laying PVC tubes for a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation works by pumping water through narrow tubes that have regularly-spaced small holes, the tubes are placed so that the holes are close to the base of the plants. “Drip irrigation is a more efficient way to carry water,” Gardening Club co-chair Arty Zhang said. “It saves water in the long run and is better for the plants.” Along with a general leveling of the garden area, the improvements include creating a rain garden. That type of garden is set up to handle rain well, so soil is not washed away, according to Zhang. To form the rain garden, club members will dig a slight basin. “In this depression, when it floods, it’ll hold all the soil and nutrients in,” Zhang said. The rain garden has plants that are native to California, but the garden will have ornamental and especially edible plants, includeing vegetables such as kale and lettuce, according to club co-chair Adriana Rizzo. The San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance, the organization who provided the grant to the club, aims to create and sustain outdoor learning environments, according to their website ( The organization does not have any curriculum for high schools, but has provided curriculum to help non-scientists understand concepts of the garden, according to special education teacher David Strother. “As the garden becomes more developed, I’m hoping that teachers will realize its benefit and start utilizing it,” Strother said. “With the garden, students can see biology in action rather than seeing it abstractly in a book.” Right now, the club wishes to gather ideas for high school appropriate lessons. “We want to get a coalition of teachers together to give

their ideas for curriculum,” Zhang said. Advanced Placement Environmental Science and Biology teacher Catherine Christensen sees advantages for students who would work in the garden. “Just to be able to go down to the garden and do their field studies there instead of having to work on it at home is great because you can have a more controlled environment,” Christensen said. “Also, we could use real ground to grow things in instead of having to do all the pots and everything.” Ten years ago, science teacher Christopher Newhouse used the garden area to teach a class called Advanced Biology. The class consisted of gardening skills — learning about the needs of plants by taking care of them — and lectures on botany and the anatomy and physiology of plants, according to Newhouse. He thinks the garden could be utilized as part of a curriculum on diet and nutrition. “It could be directed towards growing your own food, caloric content, nutritional value or organic vs. conventional farming,” Newhouse said. Strother started working with his students three years ago to improve the garden. Through this activity, he teaches his students vocational skills. One key component is to give the students responsibilities and teach them to follow through with those responsibilities, preparing them for life after high school when they have to hold jobs. One tool that Strother uses is WorkAbility a federally funded grant that pays students to gain work experience in the garden. “The educational staff, acting as supervisors, gauge whether or not the kids are earning their money or whether they keep their job or get fired,” Strother said. “It’s giving them real-life work experience where their performance matters.” Strother also pointed out the need to educate students about the source of food. “I think a lot of people are really distant from or don’t think about where their food comes from and don’t understand how food is produced and created,” he said. “Food is part of the earth and I think seeing it in the garden is going to bring that home for a lot of students.”



December 8, 2011

The Lowell

Boys dominate the Museum interns Siemens science scene work their magic in Houdini exhibit T

By KT Kelly

playing with stem cells.” Stem cell technology is a controversial practice wo seniors. One name. One competifor a portion of society, but Chan has a liberal view tion. Although winter break is approaching on the issue. “I think we don’t need to be too worried quickly, seniors Andrew Chan and Andrew Xu are about the ethical concerns about using stem cells still reliving their summer — one filled with science. because of the advent of induced pluripotent stem Chan and Xu spent their vacation conducting and cells,” Chan said. “It would be advantageous to use writing extensive lab research on individual experi- a patient’s own cells so that scientists can use those cells, differentiate them to therapeutically ments, rather than the typical fun useful cell types and not worry about under the sun. Their work was organ rejection.” not in vain — both won the title While Chan invested his free time of ‘champion’ in the 2011 Siemens over a microscope jotting down the Science competition announced results of his experiment, Xu and his on Oct.21, where high school partners reached numeral heights using students have an opportunity to a computer program. Two summers ago, achieve national recognition for Xu attended the Texas Honors Summer their original science research Math Camp and returned last summer projects. to learn about number theory, a branch Chan took a step into the proof math devoted to studying integers. At fessional world of hardcore acathe camp, he and two other participants, demics after participating in the Kevin Chang and Kevin Tian, who both Lowell Research Program as a Andrew Chan live in Texas, collaborated to work on a junior, a program that teaches students more about recent scientific findings out- research project with the help of their mentor, Dr. side of the classroom. The program gave him the Edward Early. Early let the young mathematicians opportunity to do experiments at more than just a decide what they wanted their research to focus high school lab bench. Eliminating nineteen other on, and only stepped in to give comments and applicants, Chan had the chance to work in Robert suggestions, fostering independence. “I’m open to Blelloch’s stem cell lab at the University of Califor- exploring my options in college,” Xu said. “I know that I want my career to innia — San Francisco under volve a high degree of math. the direct guidance of Ronald find the career of a research Parchem during the summer Seeing the diversity Imathematician appealing.” of 2011. With encouragment Although Chan was not from the Lowell Research and quality of research able to advance to the SieProgram to submit his lab being presented was mens finals, his fingers are report for the experiment he since he also subconducted in Blelloch’s lab, he particularly inspira- crossed, mitted his work to the Intel placed as a semifinalist in the Science Talent Search, Amercompetition. tional. ica’s oldest pre-college sciDuring his time at UCSF Chan conducted his experiAndrew Xu, ence competition, when the ment under the steady eye of senior results will be announced in January. “I admit that though his mentor, Parchem. Chan science can sometimes be designed the experiment to find out what chemicals would help promote EpiSCs, tedious, it’s still so fulfilling once you remember that a type of stem cell, as opposed to ESCs, another type. anything helps us learn more about the natural world In his first experiment, he passaged cells — dividing will eventually help our species improve,” Chan said. a population of cells — and put them in three differ- “I also learned that science is a parallel to life, you ent substrates and three different media conditions, always need to step back and look at the big picture.” The young thinkers were both challenged and and in his second experiment, he cultured the original cells in the new cultured conditions. “I found that inspired by the experiments done by other students, a JAK inhibitor, FGF, N-2, and B-27 supplemented as well as their own. “The weekend at the competition was an eye-opener for me,” Xu said. “Seeing the media promoted the EpiSC state,” Chan said. Through this experiment, Chan experienced the diversity and quality of research being presented was specifics of biological research, more than he would particularly inspirational.” Chan sees science as more than just a school have in a classroom. “It was interesting to learn how to passage cells, plate them correctly, look at them project. “Science is a pathway to fix social, physical under a fluorescence microscope and use revolu- and economic problems,” Chan said. “I’m grateful tionary chemicals that have been shown to promote for the fact that humans are altruistic enough to stem cell states,” Chan said. “More generally, I was improve each other’s standard of living.”


By Michelle Hwang and Carmen Lin


ith a new Houdini exhibit enchanting visitors with unexplainable acts of magic, three students have not only gotten a behind-the-scenes look, but also a hands-on experience. Seniors Iedryn Orozco and Zoe Rudman and junior Ema Barnes have whipped out their own magic tricks as interns at the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum. There, the teens guide visitors on tours of the museum every few months, improving each time with the periodic training they are given to learn more about the museum. Recently, the trio helped organize an event called “Teen Celebration for Houdini: Art and Magic” for the Houdini exhibit on Nov. 22, along with the 13 other Teen Art Connect interns. Organizing the event involved thought and responsibility, as the interns were ultimately able to decide what they wanted to have at the event. But advance planning was key as they tried to make the event as perfect as possible. “We wanted to make sure that a good number of people would show up, so figuring out how many people would be here was a challenge,” Rudman said. Orozco added that there were other difficulties that arose during the organizational details. “The cotton candy machine made a mess; it flew everywhere! Booking people was also hard because we had to find performances that would tie in to the Houdini exhibit.” The actual Houdini exhibit showed historic photographs, dramatic art nouveau posters, theater ephemera, and archival silent films that allow visitors to fully explore the career and legacy of the celebrated entertainer. The showstopper event included an hour-and-a-half show of intense card tricks, acrobats, contortionists and belly dancers. “There was also a professional magician, Christian Cagigal (whose act is called Obscura) performing in the auditorium, and that was really fun,” Rudman said.

Senior Zoe Rudman helps a guest sign in on Nov. 22

Orozco’s decision to apply was sparked by her curiosity about how museums operate. “The museum focused more on diversity, not just Jewish people. During the hiring process, the staff also specified that you don’t have to be Jewish to be an intern. Most of the interns aren’t Jewish,” Orozco said. After taking the job, Barnes discovered that this internship involved more creativity than her other jobs. “It’s a whole different world,” Barnes said. “For my other job I clerk at a lawyer’s office and it’s mostly paperwork and I don’t have to dress up. At the museum, there’s more interaction with people and I am representing the museum so I have to dress nicely.” With training every two weeks and shifts once a week at the museum, the girls’ schedules are ripping at the seams. However, despite the addition to their academic demands, the interns cherish their time at the museum. “It’s a good work experience, and I like to give tours of the architecture of the building where the museum is located,” Rudman said. The internship may also play a key role in determining the girls’ future plans. “I don’t really know what to do in the future, but the internship has given me an opportunity to explore,” Barnes said.

Long-time marine lover helps heal sea creatures By Eva Morgenstein


ea lions are like lions, and seals are like sausages,” senior Hannah Wong, an employee at the Marine Mammal Center, said of distinguishing the two. “Lions have legs, and sea lions walk around on their flippers. If you were to imagine a sausage to move, that’s how a seal moves.” Wong, who has worked at the Marine Mammal Center as an intern since June, enjoys her job working with animals. Although she is a volunteer, the position has benefits much more rewarding than money. “It’s definitely given me a better perspective on the importance of preservation of marine life and a lot of responsibility as well, because you are caring for another life so that they can be released back into the wild,” Wong said. “It’s given me a greater sense of responsibility to know that I was someone who helped a seal recover and return into the environment it’s supposed to be in.” The Marine Mammal Center commonly caters to seals and sea lions from all along the California coast, but also has accommodations for other mammals that may be in need of a stay, such as elephant seals and porpoises. Wong’s duties include feedings, cleaning pens and working as a docent at the center, talking to visitors about how they can reduce trash in the ocean by conserving and reusing trash. Animals in need of assistance, called “patients,” are found by anyone along the coast who sees an animal in distress on the beach or out of place. The Marine

Mammal Center then transfers the animal to its headquarters. Always interested in science, Wong only recently discovered her affinity for marine mammals. “I didn’t really have a strong interest in marine biology, but I have always loved biology itself,” she said. “I’m passionate about protists and algae when it comes to biofuels, but marine mammals have grown on me. After working at the center, I have an interest in them.” As well as working at the Marine Mammal Center, Wong is the president of Astronomy Club, goes to dance classes and is an officer of the Visual Arts Club. The Marine Mammal Center combines both Wong’s artistic side with her dedication to marine life. One of the projects she acted as docent for, called Washed Ashore, is an art piece created by trash collected on the beach. “It’s important to know what you’re putting out there,” Wong said of beach trash. “When you throw away something instead of recycling it, or if you use plastic instead of paper, it never goes away. It’s important to realize that what we do is impacting not just other people and our environment, but also animals.” Wong recommends applying to work at the Marine Mammal Center. “It’s a big commitment, but it’s really rewarding,” she said. “I wanted to do something meaningful and science related, so I sent in an application and got the internship.” Currently, Wong works on the Fiday Night Crew , but her combined activities and workload have caught up with her. “I haven’t been able to participate as much as I would like,” she said.

Vivian Tong

Despite school-related setbacks, the Marine Mammal Center is still an important influence in Wong’s life. “By working at the center and talking to people and taking care of animals, I have gained an excitement over knowing I am doing something worthwhile,” she said. “It’s like saving lives!”

December 8, 2011

The Lowell


Rising soccer star kicks for national team goal By Jeffrey Wong

them when she was 12. This distinguished team consistently f you have ever seen a Lowell girls’ soccer game, places first or second in Bay Area tournaments, visiting cities you have probably seen a whirl of Cardinal red and white like Redwood City and San Franstripes sprinting past the others, juking out defenders, cisco, and has helped Sanchez’s bringing opponents to their knees and scoring at least one goal competitive play. “Today, when per game. A player recognized as an athletic prodigy in the San I’m running with the ball on Francisco League, Alejandra Sanchez, has undoubtedly been a the field in a game, I feel invincible,” Sanchez said. force to reckon with. Sanchez has loved playing soccer since she was five years “I feel like I have more old, and this passion, along with dedicated training, has car- control over the ried her to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — trying out for g a m e the Mexico Women’s National Soccer Team in mid-January. This opportunity resulted from her coach’s, Salvador Palacio, strong relationship with the Mexico Women team’s coach because his son, Juan Palacio, competes with a Mexico club team. “Salvador is a really great person with a really big heart and has I would cry with joy if I made gone out of his way to help my dream come true, which the Mexico Soccer Team beI will always be grateful for,” cause I have been working so Sanchez said. Sanchez’s deep-rooted hard for this.” passion for the sport started during adolescence as it was a way her family members Alejandra sanchez, came together. Even though Senior she did not know the techniu ny rya cal rules, when she first played at age five with her relatives, Sanchez loved dribbling the ball up field like a forward. But what she remembers most is surprising everyone — hearing her uncle’s words after the game, “You’re a natural born forward,” when she scored a goal. “These words have stuck with me ever with every step I take and no since,” Sanchez said. “It really made me love soccer so much one can stop me.” because he believed in me.” She also loved soccer because when Sanchez’s other influence is someit was on television, it would bring all of her relatives together, one closer to home, 19-year-old Freddy laughing and betting on the game results. Even at age 11, Sanchez, who has believed in his sister’s Sanchez enjoyed being part of her family’s talent in the sport, even when she did not excitement for the game. believe in herself. According to Ale Sanchez, As her passion for the sport grew, so her brother, being an athletic soccer player himdid her talent as she became a serious self, has pushed her to do better, work harder and athlete. She participated in the socbecome more skilled at soccer. “Whenever I did not cer club team, Jamestown, at an early feel like going to practice, he would always tell me to get age simply to be introduced to soccer. off my butt and get moving,” Sanchez said. “He has been like However, she noticed that more dedicated athletes played on the club team Chivas, and so decided to join my father figure, since I grew up not having a father.”




Whether or not Sanchez makes the Mexico National team, she has big dreams for herself — to play in college and even professionally. Although joining this team would prevent her from ever being able to try out for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team due to international eligibility rules of loyalty to one country, Sanchez cares more about playing at a high level, not about the politics of what nation she represents. Soccer is all she really thinks about when thinking about a career, a symbol of her love for the game. “I would cry with joy if I made the Mexico Soccer Team because I have been working so hard for this,” Sanchez said. “It has all I have thought about since the opportunity to be on the team came, and I know that I would cherish every moment I am playing with professional athletes.” Sanchez greatly appreciates her development as a player and person because of Lowell and its soccer team. In the Academic Athletic Association, she earned Honorable Mention in girls’ soccer as a freshman and First Team AllCity League since her sophomore year. According to Sanchez, the Lowell coach Marcos Estebez has been a huge factor in her development as a teammate. “I used to be a ball hog, but Marcos helped me care more about the team’s success than my own,” Sanchez said. “Besides becoming a better teammate, I also developed athletically through Marcos’s hard workouts, like suicides and fartlecks, which are runs switching from jogging to sprinting for a long period of time.” And when Sanchez does make it big as an international star, she will never forget Lowell’s influence. “This school has really taught me to appreciate education, since so many people wish that they could be here, a place where there are so many opportunities,” Sanchez said. “This has made me want success in life and become more hardworking.” With high hopes — and great strides — towards her career, Sanchez’s advice to others who also have big dreams is that falling is part of the journey to success. “There have been times when I really wanted to quit,” Sanchez said. “When I almost tore a ligament in my right ankle, I didn’t want to play anymore because I didn’t want to keep getting hurt. But I realized that it’s part of the sport, so I got right back in. I couldn’t keep myself from soccer; I just love the competition and intensity too much.”

Violinist performs vivacissimo at Davies Hall By Kayla Huynh


t the Davies Symphony Hall’s center stage stands a straight figure sweeping her bow across the strings; a young violinist is performing one of the world’s most difficult solos. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, a piece spanning a total of 35 minutes, is attempted by few due to its technical work. Yet, one freshman manages to secure first place in a competition by playing this demanding piece. Successfully confronting the challenge, freshman Alina Kobialka is the winner of this year’s San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition. On Nov. 6, Kobialka performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto as a soloist with the Youth Orchestra at the Davies Symphony Hall. “I’ve played in big concert halls before, but this is one of the largest crowds I’ve ever played for and I was shocked because of the many people who showed up,” Kobialka said. “But I thought it was really sweet that my friends and family came, and overall I was happy and excited.” Kobialka has played in the Youth Orchestra for the past two years, benefited by the guidance of her teachers and parents. “I wasn’t sure what to expect when I auditioned for the orchestra, so I was initially a little nervous,” she said. “I was really excited when I found that I got in the orchestra.

Ever since I joined, the Youth Orchestra has been something that is expected on Saturday afternoons. I’ve imagined my life without the Youth Orchestra, and the image feels empty. I’ve met so many people there who have changed me as a person and I’ve had so many great performing experiences there.” Although Kobialka has been participating in music competitions since she was six years old, the Davies Symphony Hall performance marked her first big win. “I also plan to compete in two to three competitions in the coming spring, but my life has been more revolved around performing than competing,” she said. “I prefer performing over competing because the atmosphere is more positive and people are there to enjoy your playing rather than to judge you.”  Kobialka has performed before a live audience since she was five years old. She does many solo performances and pieces with an orchestra or piano accompaniment. “I solo with orchestras about every half year to a year, and I perform with piano or solo almost every one to two months,” Kobialka said. “I also occasionally perform with chamber music groups and am in the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, which has a good number of performances every season.”    Kobialka is pretty proud of all her performances. One of her most memorable performances was the Barber Violin Concerto with Symphony Parnassus. “It was my first real concerto debut, but the whole

performance went amazingly well. After the ment because of what they hear her doing.” concert, I was so surprised and touched at Along with the typical school workload, how many people came to watch and support Kobialka tries to fit in at least four hours of me,” Kobialka said. “The orchestra was also violin practice a day. “Currently it’s been a extremely supportive and I had so much fun bit stressful, but in the end, it really comes during rehearsals.” down to time management,” Kobialka said. Her teachers think highly of her talent “I played around with my schedule and I do in the Lowell High Symphony Orchestra. some planning for the coming day when I “Normally, ninth graders enter intermedi- wake up in the morning ” In order to ease ate orchestra, but because Alina is so expe- the pressure, Kobialka spends time out of rienced, accomplished and advanced, she her busy days to take up some of her other went straight to the Symphony Orchestra,” interests. “I like to read, swim, play badminMichelle Winter, the orchestra teacher and ton, play the piano and listen to all sorts of conductor, said. “She tested so high on the music,” she said. Kobialka said auditions for the Lowell Symphony that she stays dedicated and passionOrchestra that she I’ve imagined my life ate about her violin is actually one of playing because of the section leadwithout the Youth Or- both her love for ers.” The pressure of chestra, and the image music and encouragement from her being the concertfeels empty. ” master for a highly community. “I feel like it’s a really skilled orchestra can be viewed as healthy aspect of Alina kobialka, my life, and I’ve stressful and burFreshman had people supdensome, however porting me from Kobialka sees differently. “It’s really fun and a great privilege the time I started playing the violin,” Kobito be a sectional leader because I get to learn alka said. “I enjoy losing myself in the music more about how to lead a group,” Kobialka and performing, participating in competisaid. “It’s a big difference from sitting in the tions and interacting with other musicians middle or the back because the conductor while I’m doing chamber music or orchestra and also when I’m playing solos with orchescan hear every note you play.” Kobialka influences the school orchestra’s tra or the piano.” Currently Kobialka remains unsure about performances with her spirit and enthusiasm. “She’s had a huge impact on the orchestra,” her future violin career. However, one thing Winter said. “The whole group plays better is certain. “I want music to be with me for because the other musicians see and hear her, the rest of my life, whether it be something I and emulate her technique. The orchestra do for fun or professionally,” Kobialka said. “I plays with more intensity, style and excite- mean, who knows where life will take you?”



Weird Science

Photo illustration by daniel green

New tech electrifies old-school sci-fi wonders closer to life By Kai Matsumoto-Hines


ne small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong said when he touched down on the moon in 1969. The event shocked thousands across the world by proving that humans are capable of reaching landmarks in outer space. Nowadays amazing ideas first proposed in sci-fi novels are also being proved to be possible. Early forms of remarkable inventions are being created that may allow us to fly or become invisible.

Fly Like a Cardinal The physics of levitation has baffled human nature for thousands of years, ever since the myth of Icarus attempting to fly to the sun showed people imagining flight. But Icarus is not the last man to attempt the miracle of flying: current-day scientists continue to prove that humans can fly through their new inventions. But what about without glider wings? Each year, scientists wait anxiously to show off their wacky inventions at the Association of Science-Technology Centers annual conference. At this year’s convention in Baltimore, from Oct.15 to 18, an Israeli superconductivity group from Tel-Aviv University simplified levitation. To entice potential consumers, the group demonstrated how something that looked like a frozen CD floated and rotated around a fixed magnetic track. A term unfamiliar with us ground-dwellers, “quantum levitation” uses a frozen crystal sapphire wafer as a superconductor, allowing the disk to hang above a magnet because it becomes “trapped” in the air. To see the process in action, visit their website, www. The concept of quantum levitation is a good foundation for a future series of inventions such as hover-boards or shoes. “We are dedicated to making the amazing physics of superconductors accessible and exciting for the young and adults through the unique and counter-intuitive phenomena of ‘quantum trapping’ and ‘quantum levitation,’” the Israel scientist’s superconductivity group’s website stated. Some believe quantum levitation can be used as a base to


make future gadgets. “The wafers are brittle like ceramics, which does not make it as versatile as some would like,” chemistry teacher Bryan Marten said. “However the new materials being created can change what we can build and what we think of building. Even though I don’t see much new in the YouTube video (Quantum Levitation), if it inspires a new generation to tackle this superconducting materials problem or get into science to try to make the world a better place, that’s fantastic.”

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t Harry Potter used his invisibility cloak to sneak into the restricted areas of Hogwarts and down to Hagrid’s hut and readers sighed with envy. Scientists at the University of Dallas recreated this effect for what could be considered an early version of this ability to “disappear.” They heated carbon nanotubes, or cylindrical tubes made of carbon, underwater to 4040 degrees, bending the light rays around the tubes and concealing them entirely. Some people believe that the experiment could be a possible start of creating cloaking devices. “The remarkable performance of nanotube sheets suggests possible applications as photo-deflectors and for switchable invisibility cloaks,” lead scientist Ali Aliev said, according to ABC News (abcnews. However, at this point it is impossible for a human to wear the tubes in search of the powers of invisibility, as the specialized conditions needed are not life-sustaining. Some believe that the new inventions are not necessarily a good thing. “Any invention ever created can be used for bad intent,” sophomore Kevin Tom said. “The way crimes are committed will change. If they invented flying cars, then bad guys can get away easier. In the case of invisibility, security cameras will be rendered useless. It’s a great scientific advancement, but I don’t think it will be a good thing for the world.”

Scientific gadgets originally imagined in comic books and movies may take over our society.”

Robot Hipster Recently, the hipster fad of fixed gear bikes has infected the circuitry of robots. Robots are usually remote controlled, but

scientists are on the hunt for artificial intelligence. Masahiko Yamaguchi, a robot creator, developed a robot capable of riding a fixed gear bike about the size of your average house cat without much human help. This robot was first shown at the annual International Robot Expedition and is viewable at Popsci (, a Website that showcases the most recent scientific advances. According to Popsci, Yamaguchi is interested in utilizing artificial intelligence to create a robot completely capable of riding without a human behind the controls. This version is becoming closer and closer to matching its skills to a human. As of now, humans only control which direction the robot will go in, while the robot is able to pedal, balance and brake using its own strength. Similar robots have been utilized in the opening scene of The Muppet Movie 2011. The topic of robotics is infecting the Lowell community through the new group called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Sophomore Ofri Harlev is organizing a team to enter in a robot competition, where they will program their robot to compete in an activity. “We are going to build a 120 lbs robot to compete against other high schools,” Harlev said. “The exact event will be announced on January 7, 2012. We currently have 50 people showing up to our meetings.” If you would like to support the group’s efforts, you can donate online at their Website ( Scientific gadgets originally imagined in comic books and movies may take over our society. More and more innovative technology is beginning to appear, from floating frozen wafers to robots with a mind of their own. These incremental inventions may be a small step in creating something we can all use in our homes, but technology has made great leaps since the first moon landing.

The Lowell Spotlight December 8th, 2011

A young jour nalist stands up for women’s athletics Page 14

Lowell High School December 8, 2011

Page 11

Soccer repeats undefeated season By Henry Hammel and Sean Wang


he boys’ varsity soccer team finished its season in dramatic style, coming back from being down 1-0 to beat the Lincoln Mustangs 2-1 in the Academic Athletic Association championship. The game started with an early goal by the Mustangs in the first half. Fortunately, the Cardinals were able to bounce back, with sophomore forward Aaron Moye, motivated to earn his second goal in two consecutive AAA championship games. Senior forward Jesus Sanchez followed up this goal,


placing the Cardinals in the lead in the fifty-first minute. Although the Mustangs pushed back hard towards the end of the game, they could not get past Cardinal senior goalkeeper Eduardo Camacho, hence the victory. Due to their experience working together over multiple years, the boys know how to use each other’s strengths. “The chemistry we have built from playing together for the past three years was essential,” Sanchez said. This win capped their already impressive season of 20 victories. Added to their flawless 18-0 record from last season, the Cards have now won 38 consecutive games.

Daniel Green

Cardinals Win 2-1

Athlete of the Month: By Ian James


Noah Shaw

he JV football team went 6-1 this season for their best record in the last four years and a major contributor is sophomore tight and defensive end Noah Shaw. One of Shaw’s greatest strengths is his determination, according to sophomore defensive tackle and guard Addison Brenneman. “He always tries his best and never backs down, in both practice and games,” said Brenneman. “He is a team player and his hard work motivates everyone to try harder.” The second-year veteran and co-captain is also accredited for being one of the leaders on game day. “He’s very hands on and is a yeller on the field,” sophomore fullback and linebacker Joe Mueller said. “He pumps the team up during games and also leads us in a half time prayer. This makes us feel like a unit and inspires us to play harder.” Shaw had not played on a football team before high school, but revealed he had aspired to join the Lowell team since he was a child. “My brother played football at Lowell for four years and was starting quarterback in 2003 when we won the Turkey Bowl. My goal is to do it like him.” Shaw believes that his brother is not only an inspiration for him but also a mentor. “He comes to a lot of the games and has helped me a lot with my defense and technique,” he said. Shaw has an important role being a “big brother” himself, incorporating new players into the team. “When I first joined football, Noah was the first person to take me under his wing and make me feel like part of the team,” sophomore tackle Pasha Stone said.

Player Info: Height: 6 feet Years on JV: 2 Positions: Tight end, defensive end Personal Best Stat: 8 sacks

he Lowell’s choice for boys’ varsity soccer most valuable player is senior center midfielder Max Pollard. Pollard has certainly lived up to the duties of his key role as co-captain. “Pollard manMAX POLLARD aged the team, senior center midfielder, MVP he carried us on his shoulders and was a leader during games,” Sanchez said. Pollard was a vital component of the team’s offense. “He is the quarterback not only responsible for distributing the ball, but spotting mismatches to exploit and knowing when to push and when to possess,” head coach Marcos Estebez said. Pollard scored a total of __ goals and delivered __ assists this season. Since he was four years old, Pollard has loved soccer. “I was an energetic kid and soccer never stops; there’s no timeouts or breaks, you’re always running,” he said. He plans to continue playing soccer wherever he goes to college, whether it’s a D-1 or club team. Pollard looks forward to following the team’s future, “I am confident that they will make the playoffs, and I hope that they will win again,” he said.

Cross country takes win for 23rd time By Samantha Wilcox


oaring above the competition, the Cardinals flew across the chute for the last time this season on Nov. 16, clenching their 32nd consecutive Academic Athletic Association title. Lowell trampled the competition during the meet, with the boys’ and girls’ varsity team and the boys’ JV team placing first in the AAA. However, rival Lincoln Mustangs team defeated the girls frosh/soph race 23-40. Cross country has a complex scoring system: the runners are awarded points for their team based on their place in a race. The lower number of points a team receives, the higher they place overall when ranked with other teams. Runners train during the summer with sprints and longdistance running. Freshman who don’t have the chance to train during the summer build on their skills over the season. “In the beginning of the season I wasn’t in shape at all. I couldn’t run a full workout without walking a few times,” freshman Samantha Cheung said. For the Cardinals, intense training is the norm from the start of the season. “Our focus on speed helped us get better times and improve our overall performance,” coach Michael Prutz said.


he Lowell’s pick for Most Valuable Player this season goes to senior Alex Hillan. The team won as a whole, but they could not have done it without key runners like him. “Alex not only won the city Championship, but he is also a great role model for his teammates and the cross country program,” Prutz said. Hillan is now ranked as the ALEX HILLAN top runner in the AAA, with a senior, MVP time of 17:04. Fellow teammates have nothing but praise for Hillan, both on and off the course. “Alex is a motivated runner, and a really hard worker,” junior Chris Chow said. He stated in an email on Nov. 30, “I’m going to miss the Cardinals because I’ve made so many good friends on the team. I’ll also miss the course because we’ve had a lot of good memories there.”

Gavin Lee

Senior runner William Chen leads the pack through Golden Gate Park at the All-City Championship on November 16.


December 8, 2011

Lowell High School

Final Standings Final Record Boys' Soccer Varsity Football JV Football Girls' Varsity Volleyball Girls' JV Volleyball Cross Country Varsity Boys Varsity Girls JV Boys JV Girls Girls' Tennis

20-0 4-4 6-1 11-1 12-0

Final Game Score

*Lowell scores bolded

2-1 24-14 20-6 25-23, 25-16, 25-15, 25-15 25-21, 25-15 26:55:63:108:140:175 29:57:71:91:151:155 23:40:67:125:147:169 28:43:54:116 2-1

5-0 5-0 4-1 4-1 8-0

JV football takes revenge on Lincoln, places 2nd

Wen Liu sophomore linebacker, MVP


he Lowell’s pick for MVP this year is sophomore linebacker and running back Wen Liu. Liu is not only a star player who makes game-changing runs and touchdowns, but he is a well-rounded player, playing offense as well as defense. “Wen is a superb athlete,” sophomore tackle Pasha Stone said. When playing as a linebacker on defense, Liu can tackle, but on offense he excels at gaining yards and boosting

morale for the team. “Wen gets a lot of breakaway runs that let us gain yards and score touchdowns,” sophomore tight end and defensive end Noah Shaw said. For example, Liu had two 60-plus yard runs in the game against the Galileo Lions. “We were up, but he finished the game for us by getting a lot of big runs,” Shaw said. Liu attributes many of his strengths to the efforts of the team as a whole. “We always come in with a positive attitude; at practice we work hard, and we are disciplined during the games,” Liu said. “We really bonded as brothers. We work hard for each other as a team.” Liu felt that the strong relationship between the coaches and the team helped him to excel during the season. “The coaching staff is just our coaches, but they are also big brothers that help us,” Liu said. “They’re not just coaches, they are family, and they care about us a lot.” Liu plays a key role heading the team through his dedication. “Wen shows up to every practice and he’s ready to go when the coaches need him,” Shaw said. “He leads by example and by his performance.”

By Cooper Logan


n their last game of the season, the Cardinals made a breakaway run at the start to score a touchdown against Mission High School, and they kept the lead until the end of play, finishing with a 20-6 victory. The JV Cardinals ended the season with a strong 6-1 record, losing one game only to their Lincoln rivals. The team lost in overtime 20-14 in an exciting game, when the Mustangs made a strong push to run a touchdown. Lowell’s season record matched Lincoln’s, the first place team, but the Cardinals took second for the season as a result of their loss to the Mustangs. The team attributes their numerous victories to experience and working within their skill level. “We had a lot of sophomores with experience, and the freshmen really stepped up, so it was easy to incorporate them into the team,” sophomore Kenny Li said. “We ran plays we knew we could succeed on, and we adapted to the talent we had.”

Super-sized tennis team becomes champs The teams’ hard-fought season led them all the way to the Norcal Championships in Sacramento. Although they didn’t win, the tournament was rewarding. “We played well and had a great time,” coach Bryan Lee said. Prior to the championships, the girls maintained a stellar record: on Oct. 19, the Cardinals by beating the Lincoln Mustangs 6-1; they also dominated 5-2 against the Balboa Buccaneers on Oct. 14. During recruiting, Lee put his no-cut system to work for the first time this year. Although a guaranteed spot for every athlete who tried out required changes, such as more team activities and less individual time with the coach during practice, it ultimately proved to be beneficial for the team. “We had a lot of players that pushed each other,” Lee said. “Leadership from our seniors and captains, support from the parents Elena Bernick and assistant coach, Wing Lem, and coThe girls’ tennis team celebrates as they receive the AAA championship trophy. operation from all of the team members, enabled us to run practices  smoothly.” By Elena Bernick The team played hard and showed great progress over the he girls’ varsity tennis team wrapped up their span of the season. “As we practiced more, I personally saw time together on Nov. 4, walking away with a gold trophy and glowing smiles after overthrowing the improvement,” junior Raisa Galustyan said. The girls’ dedication to the game is the reason they fineschool’s prominent rival, the Washington Eagles, 7-0 in the tuned their tennis skills and bonded as a team. “This team All City Finals. Though the players had to work hard to hold their own improved so much because they were particularly motivated against the Eagles, in the end, the Cardinals’ athletic talent and proactive about helping each other,” Lee said. Even when they weren’t playing, players were still enthralled by the game. shone through. “The matches were really challenging,” Lem said. “When we



he Lowell’s pick for MVP is senior doubles player Jessica Lee. Lee is an inspiring and dedicated athlete who gives her all on the court at every game. “It is clear to me that our players value hard work and good character,” Bryan Lee said. Her skills are undeniable — Lee, along JESSICA LEE with fellow senior senior doubles player, MVP Kiyomi Kuroda, took first place in the doubles tournament at All City Finals two years in a row. The dynamic duo has also had the best doubles winning record this season on the team. According to Bryan Lee, Jessica Lee is “mentally tough, and focuses well in matches.” Being voted as MVP is an honor for Jessica. “It’s gratifying to know that I played a contributing role on this team, “ Lee said. After playing for three years, Lee says her time on the team has helped her in all aspects of her life. “Through my years on the tennis team I’ve learned how to control myself both mentally and emotionally,” Lee said.

December 8, 2011

Lowell High School



Old school triumphs yet again, 44-34 In the annual Faculty versus Student basketball game fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, the faculty held the lead for the first three quarters. During half time, social studies teacher Steve Schmidt, English teacher Stephanie Crabtree and counselor Maria Aguirre gave a spirited performance with the Lowell Dance Company, that brought students out of their seats. The half time show also consisted of performances from the Lowell Song Girls and Drum Corps. Students made a comeback in the beginning of the fourth quarter but were ultimately demolished by the faculty with a final score of 44-34.

photos by gavin li

Clockwise: (Left) Social studies teacher Matthew Prophet uses his height to his advantage as he tip-toes up to grab the ball from a free-for-all rebound. (Top Right) Senior Nick Webb defends against a fierce faculty member who barrels his way past. (Bottom Right) Senior Ismail Yahya considers his options as two faculty members block his way to the hoop.

Disappointing loss to Bears after thrilling season


By Spencer Thirtyacre

HE CARDINALS were mauled by the Mission Bears in the semifinals game, losing 42-24. In what turned out to be a rollercoaster comeback season, the team saw wild comebacks and heartbreaking defeats. Battling hard until the end, Lowell kept victory within reach until Mission slammed the door with senior Bear quarterback Davon Hargraves running a 76-yard touchdown. After getting shutout by Mission, 20-0 the week before, the Cardinal offense broke through the Bears’ defense, featuring junior quarterback Mike McCarthy running directsnap, straight-forward runs up the middle of the field, as opposed to the double-wing rush that was used against Mission last week. “Mikey running the offense was great,” head coach Danny Chan said. “He just plays a lot of different positions, but it was fun to get in a different formation.” Mission changed its offense, which allowed the Bears to run their quarterback in the fourth quarter and resulted in Hargraves scoring two touchdowns. This new tactic challenged the Cardinals. “We were not prepared for the quarterback run up the middle,

WILL ZOLAN senior tightend MVP

photos by daniel green

Junior quarterback Will Frankel, protected by teammates, throws the ball to a receiving Cardinal in a game against Bal.

but it’s hard to match Hargraves’s speed and his athleticism,” Chan said. The Bears faced off against the Washington Eagles on Nov. 24 in the Academic Athletic Association Turkey Day championship. Mission barely edged out the Eagles in a highly defensive game, winning 12-7 en route to their sixth Turkey Day championship.

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The Lowell’s choice for MVP is senior tight end Will Zolan. His teammates think highly of the senior cocaptain. “Will is a great motivator; he also knows how to refocus after any play,” sophomore offensive lineman Raymond Phelps said. “He can let a 50-yard pass go over his head; next play, he’ll pick the pass and run the ball in for ten yards.” Zolan pushes himself to do better as well as motivating his teammates. Particularly impressive is his dedication to the team. “Will has put his life into football,” junior linebacker Hiromi Fujita said. “He always tries 110 percent; he’s the type of guy you would want to marry your sister.” Zolan is planning on applying to Division 2 schools to continue his football career into college. “I feel strongly about my chances of making the team of the schools I’m applying to,” Zolan said.


December 8, 2011

Lowell High School

Professional women's spor

Professional women’s sports often receive minimal media coverage due that women’s sports are less aggressive and therefore, less interesting.


MAGINE AN ATHLETE sprinting down a field — muscles firing, lungs heaving, brow dripping with perspiration, face screwed up in concentration, straining to the pinnacle of human ability. Really picture it now. Can you see her? Probably not. Chances are, you imagined a man. But that’s perfectly understandable: sports in today’s society are dominated by men, for a variety of reasons. Due to biological differences between men and women, many maintain the outdated view that women’s athletics are “boring” or “weak.” As ESPN’s (www. Graham Hays puts it, the argument that women “aren’t good enough” is “the holy grail of complaints about women’s sports, and an excuse that sounds especially curious on a weekend when ABC is broadcasting 12-year-old boys playing baseball in prime time.”

Sports Feature

photo illustration by daniel green

Basketball: WNBA the underdog of the industry


ESPITE THE CLASSIC trash-talk accusation “You shoot like a girl,” women have been playing basketball ever since its emergence as a sport in the 1890s. Clara Gregory Baer, a physical educator at Newcomb College, published the first set of rules for women’s basketball in 1895. The popularity of women’s basketball spread throughout the twentieth century, particularly after the 1970s, but at a much slower rate than men’s. Women’s basketball didn’t become an Olympic sport until 1976, whereas men’s basketball has been played in the Olympics since 1936. And while the first professional women’s basketball league wasn’t created until 1978, a men’s league has existed since 1946. Today, basketball has become one of America’s most popular sports for girls. Hundreds of thousands of girls and women across the nation play basketball competitively and recreationally. But the public pays little attention to women’s college and professional basketball, especially in comparison to the focus put on men’s basketball. The Women’s National Basketball Association was founded in 1997 and has since become the most successful professional women’s basketball league in the United States, but that is hardly noticeable next to the success of its male counterpart, the National Basketball Association. Compared to the relatively consistent NBA teams, the WNBA’s team lineup has experienced tumultuous changes: in its 15 years of existence, four of

its original eight teams folded. During the 2010-11 season, the NBA had an average attendance of about 17,319 per game across 30 teams, with a total season attendance of 21.3 million while the WNBA’s 2011 season averaged approximately 7,948 per game across its 12 teams, with a total season attendance of 1.6 million, according to the Women’s Basketball Online informational website, ( While the NBA has prospered, with names like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James frequenting Twitter’s trending topics, the low profile and instability of the WNBA has reaffirmed America’s neglect of women’s sports. For all the basketball fans angry about this year’s shortened NBA season due to the lockout, the WNBA could be a way to get this year’s professional basketball fix. Beginning in May and running until the Finals in October, the WNBA’s season consists of 34 league games and two playoff rounds. Games are broadcasted on ABC and ESPN and streamed via the WNBA LiveAccess feature on ( Unfortunately for Bay Area fans, the nearest team — the Sacramento Monarchs — folded in 2009, although alternatives include the relatively nearby Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm. Who knows? Maybe the men’s lockout was the best thing that could happen to women’s basketball.

The Lowell

December 8, 2011



rts: no laughing matter

By Mara Woods-Robinson e to low interest from regular sports fanatics; sports fans have a mindset . One reporter investigates the history and statistics of women’s sports.

Tennis: The US Open causes a racket among fans


LTHOUGH FEW can tell you the difference between Lauren Jackson and Lauren Cheney (Jackson is a 3-time WNBA Most Valuable Player and Cheney plays forward for the U.S. women’s national soccer team), everyone knows who Venus and Serena Williams are. That’s because, unlike basketball or soccer, tennis is one of the few sports in which women have experienced widespread popularity and success, enough to equal or even rival men. Competitive women tennis developed almost in unison with men’s. In 1884, Wimbledon offered its first-ever Ladies’ Singles only seven years after the first tournament was held. The addition of a women’s championship to the other three Slam events — the U.S., French and Australian Opens — also closely followed the tournaments’ creations around the turn of the century. Today, women’s tennis is

recognized and respected as a high-profile professional sport. Although tennis’s overall popularity has declined since the 1980s, women’s tennis has remained as well-watched as men’s and athletes such as Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters have received nearly as much media attention as their male counterparts. The Women’s Tennis Association — the principal organizing body of women’s professional tennis — was founded by tennis superstar Billie Jean King in 1973. Like the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals, the WTA coordinates professional events for female athletes, including annual tournaments and competitions (called the WTA Tour), and determines the rankings of its participants through a point system. Yet despite the success of women’s tennis, traces of sexism still persist in the discrepancies between the men and women’s sports. Men’s tournaments often offer more prize money to winners than comparable women’s tournaments, and Wimbledon awarded unequal winnings to male and female champions until 2007.

Then, of course, there are the skirts. According to Slate, a general-interest online magazine (, women are not required to wear skirts — not even under Wimbledon’s strict, all-white dress codes — although high school tennis teams often require skirts as part of the team uniform. Various women have occasionally worn shorts in competitions since the 1930s and Anne White boldly wore a full-body unitard to Wimbledon in 1985. Yet nearly all female tennis players choose to wear skirts. Perhaps the short skirts are the reason women’s tennis is so popular — sex appeal is always a way to attract male viewership. But maybe the players are simply adhering to centuryold traditions and viewers genuinely enjoy the finesse of the women’s game. That’s your call.

Soccer: World Cup brings attention to women


ERSIONS OF SOCCER have been played since the Middle Ages, and since the first formal set of rules was drawn up in 1848, the sport has statistically become “the world’s most popular ball game,” with over 250 million players worldwide, according to Encyclopædia Brittanica ( But, like basketball, soccer has typically been focused on men. Until the 1970s, women’s soccer was only played for charity games and physical exercise, and it took another two decades to be established as a professional sport. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup, a staple in the soccer universe since its conception in 1930, had no women’s counterpart until the 1991 introduction of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Similarly, though a men’s soccer competition has been played at nearly every Olympics, women’s soccer didn’t become an Olympic sport until 1996. Although it only gained recognition as a professional sport recently, the outlook for women’s soccer in America is bright. Hundreds of men’s soccer leagues scatter the globe, the most prestigious of which include Serie A (Italy), La Liga (Spain) and the Premiere League (England). But despite the existence of Major League Soccer in the United States, Europe and the rest of the world’s overwhelming infatuation with the sport has failed to garner the popularity of the American classics: baseball, basketball and football. Contrary to the global dynamic of men’s soccer, however, the United States has become a powerhouse in women’s soccer in recent years, while other nations pay the women’s sport little attention. The U.S. women’s national soccer team has

won three out of four Olympic tournaments in 1996, 2004 and 2008, and placed first, second or third in all six FIFA Women’s World Cups. The 1999 Women’s World Cup, which was characterized by the iconic image of Brandi Chastain ripping off her shirt and celebrating in her sports bra after scoring in the penalty shootout to win the final, brought nationwide recognition to women’s soccer in America. The 1999 World Cup triggered a surge in the popularity of women and girls’ soccer and “created a springboard for the Women’s United Soccer Association,” according to a Sept. 9, 2003 article in USA Today ( Founded in 2000, WUSA was the world’s first women’s soccer league to pay its players as professionals and feature household names such as Mia Hamm and Chastain. Despite initially hopeful prospects, WUSA struggled to turn a profit, lasting only three seasons and folding in 2003. But proponents of a professional women’s league rallied together in the non-profit Women’s Soccer Initiative, Inc., eventually founding Women’s Professional Soccer, a new league, in 2009. WPS exists as the highest level of professional women’s soccer in the United States today. The league currently consists of six teams, but hopes to expand to ten in 2012, despite lagging popularity in last year’s season. The hype from this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup will likely benefit the league’s 2012 season, which should run from April to August and might be aired on Fox Soccer Channel, as well as some local channels. And, considering the popularity of girls’ soccer, the future of women’s soccer looks bright.

photos by daniel green


December 8, 2011

Lowell High School


December 8, 2011

The Lowell


Trekker discovers humanity in timeless space travel By Eva Morgenstein


he present day military, Air Force, Navy and Marines don’t captivate my American pride to “be all I can be.” But if Star Fleet — the humanitarian peacekeeping armada of outer space first introduced to us on CBS — located its future headquarters in San Francisco, I would enlist immediately. As a teenage girl, I find myself typically plagued with an onslaught of “appropriate” things to be obsessed with: the Twilight series, clothing, makeup, boys and celebrities. Taking this into account, it may raise some eyebrows that I have an obsession with Star Trek, a 23rd century sci-fi adventure show. Filled with adventure, bravery and humanitarianism, Captain Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura and 423 others speed around the galaxy in their trusty space ship, the USS Enterprise, to transport onto strange planets and “boldly go where no man [person] has gone before.” Despite Star Trek’s future timeframe, the lessons I learned glued to the screen and daydreaming in class are timeless. Star Trek highlights two of the key values of humanity: doing what is morally right even in the most difficult situations, and never giving up hope. From innocent bystanders to even their enemies, the crew saves others from some of space’s trickiest aliens, dangerous planets and viruses that make Mr. Sulu rediscover his fencing ability. Apart from demonstrating the way humans (and Vulcans, Romulans and Klingons) should treat each other, Star Trek teaches audiences earthly morals. Even though Captain Kirk is a first-class player on the show — there are more than a few alien females dressed as bimbos — women have crucial roles and are just as necessary to the success of the starship as men. Who else would translate the Romulan dialect if Lieutenant Uhura was just a human housewife? Star Trek was also one of the first TV shows to promote diversity, equipped with at least five different races and hosting the first interracial television kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura

on Nov 22, 1968.

When strangers see me sporting my rubber Spock hat or hear me say “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!” in a fake Scottish brogue, I’m bound to get second glances. The stares are either full of awe, shocked that someone would reference the 23rdcentury Star Trek in 2011, followed by a double-take as they realize that I am in fact a 16-year-old girl, or a look of general confusion. Friends have wondered if I ever indulge in “normal” aspects of teenage entertainment — that is, if you can call any of it normal. But even if I have growled like an angry werewolf through the Twilight movies and have a poster of the same ripped actor on my bedroom wall, Star Trek, and science fiction in general, easily fills the void of classic teenage girl pop culture in my life. What appeals to me most about Star Trek is that through thick and thin the crew of the Enterprise sticks together, overcoming challenges like tribble overpopulation— as seen in an infamous episode that demonstrates “reproduce like rabbits”— while fulfilling their peaceful mission. Because Star Trek credits companionship (even if emotionless, like Spock), equality, the celebration of differences and the value of life (human or not), I strongly believe that if everyone watched Star Trek, our present-day galaxy would be a better place. Star Trek is about what it means to be human and have desires and fears. In the 2009 movie, after Kirk has cheated on the Kobayashi Maru, a captainship test, Spock tells Kirk, “The purpose is to experience fear, fear in the face of certain death, to accept that fear, and maintain control of oneself and one’s crew. This is the quality expected in every Starfleet captain.” The show’s focus on the realistic feelings that all intelligent life forms experience reinforced a positive, reassuring lesson while transitioning from middle school to high school, making Kirk, Spock, Bones and Uhura all mentors. When applied to my life, the


to c

influence is more effective than a ship-wide red alert — and I’d take my role models’ excellent influences over vampire groupies any day. Although my friends roll their eyes and groan when I recall a memorable scene or base a class presentation on Star Trek, being engrossed in this sci-fi classic is an odd and distinguishing personality trait. Rather than let society label me as odd and out-of-place, even in outer space, I should point out society’s flaws. By watching Star Trek, I have learned to value negotiation instead of violence and enjoy quirky people. To some, it is peculiar to hear that a few of my greatest lessons were learned from a 20th century TV show — but all values aside, it simply means I’ll be ready to enlist in Star Fleet when its headquarters finally open in San Francisco.



of in




Vivian tong

Girl takes the plunge into a multitude of obsessions By Mara Woods-Robinson


have a problem. I like things too much. If I curl up in bed with a good book, I disregard my biological need for sleep and stay up reading all night. If I stumble onto a TV show I find entertaining, I make a beeline to Netflix and watch episodes 1 through 100. I develop an all-consuming need to know everything — the author’s inspiration, the actors’ failed marriages and

Vivian tong

every other imaginable detail. In fact, I like things so much that I can’t just like them — I have to love them. In more colloquial terms, I get obsessed. Over the past couple of years, my constant cycle of television addictions has become a way to measure my life, akin to the pencil markings of my changing childhood height. In sixth grade, I couldn’t get enough of the privileged yet troubled teenagers of The O.C.; in seventh grade, I moved on to the romancefilled operating rooms of Grey’s Anatomy; and in eighth grade, I was bewitched by the many adversities and supervillains faced by a young Clark Kent on Smallville. Then high school hit, and a growing need to procrastinate led to an unprecedented wave of addictions. In my three-and-a-half years at Lowell, I’ve gotten hooked on everything — from cancelled shows like Freaks and Geeks, Pushing Daisies and Friends to current sitcoms like The Office, 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother to the BBC’s enduring science fiction classic, Doctor Who. Once I get going on a show, I devote my spare time (and some of my not-so-spare time, for that matter) to humming along with the opening credits as I immerse myself in episode after episode. I fantasize about traveling through time and space in the Doctor’s TARDIS; solving murders with the piemaker and the girl named Chuck; and pulling pranks on Dwight at Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton, Pennsylvania branch. Similarly, I experience a frenzied state of fanaticism during major sporting events. The Olympics are one of my greatest weaknesses. For two weeks every other year, all I can talk

about are gold medals, and I’m only interested This year, the inevitable bout of senioritis in people like Usain Bolt and Shawn Johnson has magnified my obsessive tendencies. With — names I all but forget in my non-Olympic mountains of AP homework to do, dozens of day-to-day life. The same applies to the World colleges to apply to and my sanity to maintain, Cup. July 2010 transformed me I have no time to spare, so natuinto a desperate fan, waking rally I spend the time that I don’t up at 4 a.m. to catch kick-off have developing new obsessions and putting aside patriotism to and fostering old ones. I’ve been don the Spanish red and yellow. able to keep it fairly under conThen, four times a year, my life trol so far, though I may lose a goes on hold as I devote myself few hours of sleep here and there to Rafael Nadal’s efforts in the to cheer on New Directions on tennis Grand Slams — the AusGlee and reread Harry Potter for tralian, French and U.S. Opens the umpteenth time. and, my favorite, Wimbledon. But despite my burgeoning And don’t even get me started caffeine addiction, I’ve come on the World Series. For the to accept my fate as an eternal entirety of last October, I could fangirl. Thanks to the countless only see two colors: orange and shows and books, I’m culturally black. well-informed — I understand And then, of course, there are books. The nearly every pop-culture, historical or literary Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series have reference that comes my way. How else would I been fixtures in my life since my dad used know that Andy Roddick holds the record for to read them to me as bedtime stories, and the fastest serve ever or recognize “so it goes” as whenever I feel the need to revisit simpler Billy Pilgrim’s catchphrase in Slaughterhousedays, my mega-obsesFive? sion will resurface. From And, truth be Shakespeare to Salinger, told, my obsesI have no time to spare, so siveness is part of I’ve had my fair share of literary phases, but naturally I spend the time who I am. Because, most notable is my love even if I occasionthat I don’t have developing ally psychoanalyze of Jane Austen. It took me all of one day to read with frightnew obsessions and foster- myself Pride and Prejudice for ening labels such as the first time: I braved “addictive personing old ones. ungodly hours of night ality” and “obsesto finish the book. As swiftly as possible, I sive compulsive,” I realize that what I really am tore through her five other novels: Sense and is passionate. When I like something — a story, Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Emma a sport, even a subject in school — I love it with and Northanger Abbey. I’ve since reread the the thrill of genuine enthusiasm. The way I see novels multiple times, watched nearly every it, our individual passions are blessings that film adaptation — even the awful Laurence differentiate all seven billion of us. So maybe I Olivier 1940 Pride and Prejudice that totally don’t have a problem after all. Maybe I just have butchered the ending — and become an fluent a unique way of seeing the world: through the speaker of Regency-era English. eyes of the Doctor and Jane Austen.



December 8, 2011

Lowell High School

EDITORIALS ‘No homework’ days needed to alleviate stress

Editors-in-Chief Caitriona Smyth • Nancy Wu Yosha Huang • Natasha Khan


hile Lowell students are among the most hardworking students in San Francisco, we are also among the most stressed. With tests perpetually on the horizon and a neverending homework load, we deserve sympathy and support. Even one night free from homework would relieve student anxiety. On Nov. 3, math teacher Bruce Cohen and English teacher Jennifer Moffitt released a joint SchoolLoop email to faculty members asking other teachers to join them in giving seniors the weekend following Friday, Nov. 18 free from homework. The purpose of the proposed break was to give seniors a chance to work on UC applications, due at the end of November. “My advice to students has been to file the application well before the deadline,” Cohen said. “I decided to ‘put my money where my mouth is’ and use a homework free weekend to encourage students to take the advice seriously.” Seniors are not the only ones who would benefit from a homework break. Removing homework on occasional but regular nights for all students could reduce stress and give students a muchneeded chance to get back on their feet. Lowell students might use the time to watch TV, snooze on the couch or pursue a hobby; however they choose to spend it, they will be able to relax. We encourage teachers to coordinate designated no-homework nights. Homework aids learning to some extent, but also has drawbacks. The merit of homework has been extensively researched. Books like The Case Against Homework by Sara Bennett and Nancy Kalish use academic research and interviews with educators, parents and children to show how homework deprives kids of exercise, play and sleep time — activities teenagers require more then ever. “It’s crucial for teens to get plenty of rest because they are still growing,” Community Health Outreach Worker Lauren Reyes said. Many students come to the Wellness Center, and Reyes has heard repeated complaints that the homework load is too heavy, making students feel helpless. “A no-homework night would give students a chance to step back, allowing students to have a clearer sense of what they need to do,” Reyes said. Large amounts of homework detract from the time students can engage in personal activities or spend with family, which can have consequences for mental health. “No homework days will rejuvenate our minds. They would benefit not just students, but also teachers,” freshman Kate Colebrook said. Designating specific no-homework days at the start of the school year would allow teachers to plan accordingly. This would avoid the risk of students falling behind or teachers failing to get through the scheduled curriculum. Educators would determine the number and timing of the work-free evening, but we propose three no-homework nights per semester, one in each grading period, as a practical way of integrating the idea into the school calendar. The administration has maintained a hands-off policy regarding homework. Therefore, the department heads and teachers would ultimately devise and implement these days. “It has to be a well orchestrated plan,” biology teacher Theodore Johnson said. “Teachers need to sit down and talk about no homework nights. I don’t believe that the administration can impose them on us. We’ll have to agree.” The homework-free weekend proposal yielded uneven results. In a quick and informal straw poll, several seniors said homework was assigned as normal in their classes, while others cited that some teachers had purposefully lessened the load, although the timing varied between the weekend of Nov. 18 and Thanksgiving break.

Web Editors-in-Chief Content Olivia Pollak Technology Aaron Pramana

News Amy Char, Yosha Huang, Natasha Khan,


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Editor, As the sole staff member of YouthVote, I want to first thank The Lowell for the thoughtful commentary on the program (“YouthVote elections deserve more attention,” Nov. 4). While I was disappointed that I was not asked to comment on the article before its publication, I am writing because I agree with the concerns raised and would love for YouthVote to be implemented at a deeper level throughout the school system. While my role is to develop the materials, distribute them to school sites, and tabulate the results, YouthVote is implemented at the school-site level by over 375 individual teachers and administrators. It is impossible to ensure that everyone participates, much less receives an in-depth education around the election. Fully implementing YouthVote should not come at the cost of students’ education. A curriculum for YouthVote, designed and approved by the school district’s social studies department heads, exists. Importantly, this curriculum covers several of the California teaching standards for social studies. In fact, the curriculum agreement includes three full classes a year to be dedicated for YouthVote in Government/Economics classes. The level of detail in the YouthVote Handbook is related to the amount of time teachers allocate to the program. While it would be great to include very detailed information, there should not be so much that it intimidates classes from covering the material at all. I must also balance issues like spacing and objectivity. I am adamant about one goal: allowing every student the chance to vote, period.

First, students deserve the chance to have their voices heard. Second, one could be surprised by how many students have sophisticated political opinions, regardless of what was or was not covered in class. Third, no one ensures that adults have been educated on electoral issues and students should not be held to a different standard. All said, I would jump at the chance to work with students at any school — including Lowell — to make the experience as positive as possible. I’m on your side. — Peter Lauterborn, YouthVote Coordinator See the complete version on

Dear Editor, America is having one of its worst economic depressions since the 1930’s. Millions are out of work and people are ready for change. While most of the blame for this economy falls to the fat cats on Wall Street, there are other culprits involved. The U.S. is one of the largest military spenders in the world, accounting for 42.8 % of total military expenses in the world in 2010. The U.S. spends more on national security than the rest of the world combined! Not only is it necessary to reduce this enormous budget, but also to reinvest in peacemaking skills instead of war-making ones. Here in America we have war colleges, such as West Point and the Virginia Military Institute, but do we have any colleges that specialize in peacemaking skills? We have a $3.5 trillion dollar budget and roughly onethird of it goes to the military. Reduction from this budget must occur in order for America to regain confidence in a government that has forsaken them. — Nick Magyari, Reg. 1215

Caitriona Smyth Sports Joseph Fiorello, Nancy Wu Features Jenna Rose Fiorello Columns Adriana Millar, Grace Sun Opinions Olivia Pollak, Michelle Wan Reporters Justine Alano, Elijah Alperin, Natalia Arguello-Inglis, Cameron BaSaing, Elena Bernick, Isabel Boutiette, Adam Chac, Daffany Chan, Elazar Chertow, Jenna Rose Fiorello, Deidre Foley, Campbell Gee, Henry Hammel, Michelle Hwang, Kayla Huynh, Ian James, Seric Kaekwon, Zoe Kaiser, Sofya Kats, KT Kelly, Melinda Leung, Carmen Lin, Cooper Logan, Ashley Louie, Kai Matsumoto-Hines, Adriana Millar, Cecily Montgomery, Eva Morgenstein, Arlen Pan, Ying Sham, Spencer Thirtyacre, Sean Wang, Samantha Wilcox, Jeffrey Wong, Mara Woods-Robinson, Audrey Yu Web Staff Elijah Alperin, Monica Castro, Nicholas Fong, Daniel Green, Chris Lee, Gavin Li, Jason Lo Photo Editor Chris Lee Photographers Daniel Green, Nicholas Fong, Gavin Li, Jeremy Varon Art Editor Vivian Tong Illustrator Hoi Leung Business Managers Martin Costa, Rachel Hsu, Sophie Solomon Accounting Grace Sun

Advisers Print Sharn Matusek Web Samuel Williams Published every four weeks by the journalism classes of Lowell High School, Room S108, 1101 Eucalyptus Drive, San Francisco, CA 94132 Phone: (415) 759-2730 Internet:; http://www.thelowell. org. All contents copyright Lowell High School journalism classes. All rights reserved. The Lowell and The Lowell on the Web strive to inform the public and to use their opinion sections as open forums for debate. All unsigned editorials are the opinions of the staff. The Lowell welcomes comments on school-related issues from students, faculty and community members. Send letters to Letters must be signed. Names will be withheld upon request. We reserve the right to edit letters before publication. 2011 NSPA All-American 2011 NSPA Online Pacemaker 2009 NSPA First Class Honors 2007 NSPA All-American 2007 NSPA Online Pacemaker 2007 CSPA Gold Crown 2006 NSPA Pacemaker 2006 NSPA All-American 2005 CSPA Gold Crown

Proposition H, which would have restricted school choice and limited diversity, was best voted down


n the Nov. 8 municipal election, San Francisco voters rejected Proposition H by a mere 120 votes. Those 120 votes saved the City from creating a policy that would have been detrimental to our public schools. With such a slim margin of votes, the question is: Why were voters so divided? Prop H asked voters: “Shall it be City policy to encourage the San Francisco Unified School District to change its student assignment system so that it places the highest priority on assigning each student to the school closest to home, after placing siblings in the same school?” The plan outlined in this proposition would have become a recommendation, not a law. A vote “yes” signified approval for a new city policy to encourage the SFUSD — independent from City Hall — to alter its school assignment system for the 2012-2013 school year.   Why would this proposition even make it to the ballot? Prop H supporters cite the school achievement gap. According to the legal text of Prop H, “the current school assignment system...has contributed to one of the worst achievement gaps in any urban district in the State of California.” The achievement gap referred to is based on the difference in standardized test scores between many schools in the district. Each year, every high school in the state receives an Academic Performance Index score between 100 and 1,000 based on test scores and students’ average grade point average. For example, Washington High School’s 2010 API score was 782, while Burton High School’s was 676, according to a May 5 San Francisco Examiner article. There is a clear correlation between a school’s API and the economic standing of the neighborhood where the school is located. Data shows that schools with lower test scores are in neighborhoods with lower average annual per capita income. Washington is located in the Richmond District, where the average annual per capita income is

$41,369, while in Visitacion Valley, where Burton is located, the average annual per capita income is $17,651, according to the San Francisco Planning Department. Some families in neighborhoods with high-performing schools may have supported neighborhood assignment, but Prop H is not the solution to closing the achievement gap. Prop H puts many people in a bind. The correspondence between low test scores and poorer neighborhoods is clear, and the United Educators of San Francisco is sympathetic to school choice. “Prop H was trying to divide the city based on ethnic and economic lines,” UESF political director Ken Tray said. “Every study has shown that poverty is the leading indicator whether or not kids will do well in school.” Why restrict students living in low-income neighborhoods to attend lower-performing schools in their immediate area? This policy will exacerbate the gap in achievement between schools and segregate school communities, which does not benefit test scores, or more importantly, diversity. In the current school enrollment system, families are allowed to rank up to seven schools in order of preference, something most of us did as eight graders. All SFUSD families should have the option to rank schools according to which are the best fit for the student and family. Taking away choice eliminates students’ opportunity to play a proactive role in their own education. Also, the plan as outlined in the proposition would have upended students in schools across the district and wasted valuable dollars. The UESF’s paid argument in the Voter Information Pamphlet stated, “Countless hours of district staff time would be diverted from curriculum to reorganizing the school boundaries.” We applaud voters for voting down this measure. Every student deserves a choice as to where he or she gets an education, and every student deserves a chance to succeed.

December 8, 2011

The Lowell



privacy policy By Daffany Chan


IKE FREEDOM of speech and religion, freedom to communicate should be a right of every citizen, regardless of age. With the expansion of technology, the Internet has become a global network linking people together, and calls for unrestricted access. The 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), however, prohibits youth under 13 from using Facebook. Presently, the Federal Trade Commission is considering a new restriction to require parental consent before websites can gather marketing data from children when “liking” products on Facebook. However, kids under 13 should not be prevented from using social networking sites like Facebook and should not have additional restrictions. Facebook is an important educational tool that can benefit children’s understanding of technology. Instead of trying to shield kids from the realities of our technological society, kids should be allowed to use the site at an early age so that they can develop Internet safety skills that will increase awareness potential Internet dangers. Although many parents cite frequent cyber bullying on sites like Facebook as a reason to prevent kids under 13 from using the site, trying to block kids from using the Internet for social networking will not solve the bullying problem. For one thing, it is ineffective — there are many other forums on the Internet where kids have the capability to torment their peers, such as Instant Messaging. The problem needs to be fixed from the root by examining the reasons behind why children bully their peers. This includes raising bullying awareness at schools as well as increased parental involvement. Legally prohibiting Facebook for young adolescents does not prevent them from using it, in fact, it may even increase the site’s appeal. COPPA currently bars kids under 13 from Facebook, yet many lie about their age, joining Facebook without the supervision of their in-the-dark parents. Without their parents’ counsel, they will be left even more vulnerable to cyber bullying and marketing tactics, thus negating the Act’s purpose. Children’s safety is of concern to Facebook, which already has multiple safety features in place. These include systems to flag and

eliminate child pornography; a partnership with Amber Alert — a tracking system for missing children; and relationships with school boards to help reduce cyber bullying, according to an Oct. 12 article in The New York Times. Parents, not the government, should be


By Natalia Arguello-Inglis


N THE DIGITAL AGE, Facebook has a home in millions of bookmark bars around the world. However, 7.5 million of the 20 million minors who actively used Facebook last year were under the age of 13, and 5 million were under the age of 10 (www.

Should children under 13 be allowed to use social networking and other Internet services without parental consent? Two reporters weigh the pros and cons

responsible for monitoring their children’s Internet use, because the decision is best based on the child’s capability, not age. After all, the government cannot truly regulate the Internet use of young people. Parents are willing to help their children communicate via Facebook. More than three-fourths of parents stated that they would help their children lie on Facebook in order to use the site for educational benefits, according to a Nov. 8 New York Times article. While the Internet has risky elements, it connects us with people around the world. “In the future, software and technology will enable people to learn a lot from their fellow students,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at this year’s NewVenture education summit. We should not prevent the future generation from using a tool that will only grow in the future.

the legal protection of minors. Additionally, Facebook embeds cookies in its members’ Internet browsers that can track online activity outside of Facebook and can continue to do so even after the user has logged out. Such information can be used to tailor ads to a minor’s specific interests. This kind of advertising is troublesome as it can be used to build brand loyalty in children early in their development as a consumer. Facebook is a minefield of online mistakes for children who are not as Internetsavvy as more experienced Internet users. According to Consumer Reports, only 10 percent of parents with children under age 10 speak with their children about appropriate online behavior. Facebook’s page may provide children with the idea that Internet use can be taken lightly. In reality, once something is shared on the Internet, a simple misjudgment can become permanent. The site does have privacy options, but according to Consumer Reports, 66 percent of active ADULT hoi leung users either did not know that the options existed or did not know how to access them. If adults cannot decipher how to protect their private information through Facebook’s privacy options, how can we expect children to? Furthermore, some online mistakes can cause harm to minors, as Facebook can act as portal for cyberbullying. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center’s 2004-2010 study, ­­about half of young people have experienced cyberbullying — which includes stalking and harassment — and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly. Facebook endangers younger users who may not understand what constitutes as cyberbullying, both in impact and legal punishment. Through Facebook and other sites, sexual predators have the opportunity to prey on child users. The site’s terms of service explicitly state that no convicted sex offenders can join, sex offenders can and have gained access to the site under fake names and profile pictures. It is impossible to keep all from targeting child users. The only way to truly keep children under 13 safe is to keep those naïve minors from signing up altogether. Facebook is a very useful tool, but when put in the wrong hands, it may harm more than it helps.

NO Though a valuable tool for connecting with people, children under 13 are not capable of understanding the dangers and responsibilities that come with Facebook, and federal regulation should be tightened, not dismissed, to provide maximum safety to children using the web. Those 7.5 million minors under 13 violate Facebook’s online policy, which prevents anyone under 13 from legally signing up. However, by accessing the site under fake birth dates, pre-teens have skirted around both Facebook policy and federal law. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, enacted in 1998, prohibits websites from taking personal information from children under 13 without verifiable parental consent. Facebook’s ability to track its users and share their personal information with advertisers and third-party developers jeopardizes

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Send an email to lowellopinion@



In an industry where wild parties and hot women rule the commercials, one beer company dared to debut a 73-year-old man in its 2006 television ad campaign. Five years later, “The Most Interesting Man in the World” has reached legendary status. The Dos Equis brand has amassed international attention, reaching 1,000,000 views on Youtube, justifying the innovative commercial as “The Most Interesting Ad in the World.” In each witty commercial, actor Jonathan Goldsmith performs spectacular feats, such as skydiving in a kayak or admonishing his pet cougar for rudely jumping on the kitchen table. Meanwhile, a narrator lists his ridiculous accomplishments, which range from winning trophies for his game face alone, to speaking perfect French…in Russian. Similar to the success of the topless Old Spice spokesman, “The Most Interesting Man in the World” draws fans on one factor alone: the humor of awesomeness. But do 20 to 30-somethings actually crave a sip of Dos Equis after watching an old man who has taught a horse to read his email? According to Macleans, a news website (, Dos Equis sales have gone up 22 percent since the commercial first aired, even though the industry of imported beer has lost four percent in sales overall; quite impressive, though it is all in a day’s work for the internationally renowned advertisement agency, Euro RSCG.


In 2011, a number of creative artists have achieved popularity, knocking many ill-deserving celebrities from the spotlight. Adele, Florence and the Machine and Foster the People have all proved that there is still room for talent in the weakening music industry. Adele’s soulful voice won the hearts of millions of new fans in 2011 after releasing her sophomore album “21” in February. All these groups stand out to fans, but not based on their offbeat clothing. For example, Adele wears her usual ensemble of a black sweater and black pants to events, where he simple elegance proves that her talent, and not her attire, gets her recognized as an artist. Alongside Adele, the American success of Florence and the Machine proves how the Brits have definitely done better this year. Red-haired Florence Welch combines a perfect mixture of rock and soul into her newest album, “Ceremonials.” In a pop-opposite genre from Adele and Florence, Foster the People brings a unique sound to popular music. Their huge use of synthesizers and incomparable beats stunned fans who welcome the new alternative pop sound with open arms.



TV lineup. The show revolves around Jess, an offbeat, but easily relateable elementary school teacher played by indie princess Zooey Deschanel. After a bad breakup, Deschanel’s character moves into a new apartment, complete with three single and moody male roommates. Together, the four twenty-somethings form a charmingly dysfunctional family. While viewers may find themselves chuckling at the characters’ comical misfortunes — such as when the roommates attempt to defrost a frozen turkey in the clothes dryer — part of the affectionate humor is that their awkward situations may mirror their own real-life blunders. Whether it’s Jess’s random dancing or hopeless attempts to pick up guys, New Girl portrays the inner gawkiness of our teen years.

Do you feel nostalgia for the free speech movements of the early 60s, an era you’ve read about but never experienced? Do you feel that our elected officials’ only concern is getting your vote? With chant of “we are the 99 percent,” average citizens have marched through streets and camped out in plazas to call attention to their sense of disenfranchisement from America’s political and economic system. On Sept 17, hundreds gathered at Liberty Square in Manhattan’s financial district to expose the undemocratic phenomena of the ultra-rich getting richer and everyone else getting poorer. Inspired by revolutions in Egypt and Libya, the protestors said they were going to take back the country from the corporate millionaires and return it to the rest of us. With ideas and strategies virally linked, these protests have been spread throughout the country by people who want more say in politics. In San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a diverse group has spent the last few months demonstrating in hopes of changing the trajectory of our country back to the egalitarian ideals of our founding fathers. Average citizens — from punked up teens to fed-up businessmen — are forming a new era in capitalist history. “There’s a great energy surrounding their protests and the communal goal of social change should lead the country in a positive direction,” junior Mari Galicer said.



ho’s that girl? It’s Jess!” sings heroine Jessica Day, who embraces awkwardness on New Girl, a fall series that adds a touch of clever quirkiness to the otherwise homogeneous

The BEST...




...and the worst of the year The Lowell Backpage by Campbell Gee, Cecily Montgomery, Isabel Boutiette and Spencer Thirtyacre Are you a lazy voter? Don’t care if Obama promises health care reforms, or Herman Cain is involved in a sexual harassment scandal, yet still planning on bubbling in your 2012 presidential ballot? Herman Cain’s uninformative fundraising commercial can help you further neglect knowledge of the political world around you. In the ad, Herman Cain’s chief of staff Mark Block explains “together we can take this country back.” While he provides no explanation of his powerful cliché, Block proceeds to light a cigarette, blowing smoke into the camera — an act that even Holden Caulfield knew called for an apology. The camera then cuts to an extremely close-up shot of Herman Cain, who concludes the ad with what may be the creepiest smile in commercial history. The eight-second fright-fest that is the Herman Cain grin brings thoughts of “serial killer” or “stalker” to anyone who sees it. Besides the pointless moments of Block smoking and a zoomed-in, sinister mug shot of Cain, the ad contains virtually no information of his policies and goals. Cain and his supporters created the ad solely to suck in the money of those desperate enough to fall for his, let’s say, charm.

worst ad

In contrast to the aforementioned artists, more than ever this year, pop music became less of a talent contest and more of a competition between dolled-up celebrities who are more likely to kill to be on the front cover of Cosmopolitan than behind a mic. While “Friday” fans praise Rebecca Black for creating a pop anthem, many question if reciting the days of the week in auto-tune can be considered actual music. Celebrity artists like Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, who struggled to compete for the most distinct label, ended up sacrificing their music for glamour and gossip. Perry’s song “Last Friday Night” and Minaj’s “Superbass” describe the joys of partying and schoolgirl crushes in tech-artificial voices that differ vastly from talented singing. Recently, Rihanna hit a new low with her single “Cockiness,” which includes the racy lyrics “Suck my cockiness, lick my persuasion.” Instead of keeping it classy for her younger audience, Rihanna chose to sell sex instead of music. The principal difference between the big-girl celebrities and Rebecca Black? Black’s recording company could only spend $4,000 of Black’s mother’s money to cover up her lack in vocal talent, while Perry and Minaj’s repairs took millions.

worst music

Without a central leadership or specific demands, the Occupy Wall Street protestors will most likely achieve a merely symbolic demonstration against the top one percent, instead of the dreamed-of permanent reform for the 99 percent. At the camp by the bay, few participants at Occupy San Francisco expressed specific knowledge of politics, most asserted they primarily wanted to get the attention of those in office. “I don’t know much at all about the bills in politics and neither do most people here,” said one middle-aged protestor who was seated at a table covered with pamphlets in the middle of a scattered cluster of tents. “We just want to be heard and then hopefully someone in power will make changes based on our problems.” What is more, in many cities these protests include people who appear to be using the actions as an excuse for a public campout. This situation has lead to disruptions, even episodes of violence. In Oakland, protestors blocked the 880 freeway, resulting in a shut-down of the Port of Oakland. That night, as the police attempted to shut down, a pitched battle broke out between the police and the protestors. Unfortunately, incidents like these tarnish the entire movement and undermine the push for positive change.

worst protest


hat show involves tantrum-spouting individuals pursuing beauty by getting their bodies spray-tanned, eyelashes tinted, teeth bleached and hair highlighted? If you thought it was Jersey Shore, think again. The answer is Toddlers and Tiaras, which follows the lives of child beauty pageant contestants ranging from eight months to ten years old,. The stars are accompanied by egocentric stage moms who breed their girls to look like living baby dolls and act like divas. The reality show portrays the mini pageant contestants singing, dancing and strutting their stuff in two-piece bikinis and flashy costumes in hope of taking home a tiara and trophy to display next to their Barbie collection. One mom even went as far as dressing her threeyear-old up as Julia Roberts’ character in Pretty Woman (yes, the prostitute) during the costume portion of a competition. Others hop their little divas up on Pixi-Stix for a kick of pre-competition energy. Toddlers and Tiaras encompasses what some may consider preschoolers on the road to stardom while others may hold that it is near child abuse. The show joins a new generation of sleazy reality shows like The Bad Girl’s Club and The Real Housewives, but lacks the “I can’t stop watching this” train-wreck appeal. Even if you do make it through five minutes of the show, it is hard not to think about what Toddlers and Tiaras symbolizes is everything wrong with our culture.

worst tv


The Lowell December 2011  
The Lowell December 2011